Scott McLaughlin

McLaughlin and Power accept penalties over misuse of push-to-pass system


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Scott McLaughlin has accepted his disqualification from the season-opening Grand Prix of St Petersburg for mis-using the push-to-pass system.

His Penske team mate Will Power, who kept his finishing position in the race but received a points deduction for a lesser infringement, also issued a statement accepting his penalty.

Their team mate Josef Newgarden, who was disqualified along with McLaughlin, is yet to publicly acknowledge the series’ shock announcement 24 hours ago.

McLaughlin and Newgarden were found to have used their push-to-pass systems during restarts, which is forbidden under IndyCar’s rules. The series said Penske had “manipulated the overtake system” so that all three cars were able to use it at starts and restarts. Power did not use it at unauthorised times, but his team mates did.

Power said he was “disappointed” to learn of his penalty, which saw him lose 10 of the 40 points he would have scored for finishing second. “There was an oversight by our team and I was unaware of the situation until it was brought to our attention following Long Beach,” he said.

“As per the rules, I did not utilise the push-to-pash capabilities during any start or restart during the St. Petersburg race. While I accept the penalty, I want it to be known that I did nothing wrong and followed the rules. Now we move forward and my focus is on Barber.”

McLaughlin stressed he is “proud to be a member of Team Penske” and said “I fully stand with every one of my team mates.”

He addressed the question of why he used the system at a time when he would not normally be able to.

“Simply put, a mistake was made,” said McLaughlin. “I have the highest level of integrity and it is important to protect both my own reputation and that of the team.

“I was not aware of the situation with the software. In this instance, I used a single, very brief (1.9 second) deployment of push-to-pass in a section of the track exit of turn nine where it is typically utilised throughout the race.

“I hit the button out of habit, but I did not pass any cars nor did I gain any time advantage. The data, which IndyCar has, confirms all of this information. While I accept the penalty, I want to be clear that I did not gain an advantage over my competitors.”

McLaughlin insisted he “would take no pleasure in achieving success in any way other than honestly.”

“We will all press forward from here and focus on the task at hand this weekend in Barber.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “McLaughlin and Power accept penalties over misuse of push-to-pass system”

  1. Wondering if the Penske team should find out who is to blame for this purposeful mistake. Probably could be fired for this. Or at least take the blame in the media.

    1. Sadly I estimate that it would mostly about taking blame in the Media. Given Mr. Penske Sr. role in governing IndyCar this is extra worrying.

  2. It gets worse the more that is known. Someone has to go.

    1. Steven Williamson
      26th April 2024, 5:48

      Couldn’t agree more, someone has to go, starting with fans like me!

  3. “I hit the button out of habit, but I did not pass any cars nor did I gain any time advantage. The data, which IndyCar has, confirms all of this information. While I accept the penalty, I want to be clear that I did not gain an advantage over my competitors.”

    So what then is the point of pushing the button out of nine if it provides no advantage?

    1. He pushed the button to go faster, and he knew it. And admitted it!

    2. someone or something
      25th April 2024, 20:16

      Yeah, that’s nonsense in its purest form. If he said “no significant advantage”, that’d be plausible. A few hundredths of a second gained from pushing the button and carrying the excess speed to the next braking point, okay.
      However, that doesn’t do the situation justice. McLaughlin was under pressure from O’Ward at the start of the race, and trying to catch a tow from Newgarden ahead of him. In a situation like that, even a relatively minor power boost can make a huge difference. And we’re talking about almost 2 seconds of 60 extra HP, almost 10% more power, against an opponent who had no such boost. And he did get a nice slipstream from Newgarden, which might’ve been quite a bit less effective had he been a few centimetres further behind.
      “I have the highest level of integrity” is an alternative fact considering all of this. He should be ashamed of himself and be quiet.

    3. It would be interesting to know the stat about how many other drivers hit it out of habit when not available, or whether he hit it on past GPs in the same situation.

  4. Interestingly, I haven’t seen any response from Newgarden (unless I’ve simply missed it – which wouldn’t be a surprise). No need to comment if you just know you’re guilty?
    So far, we have the believable Power (sounds like he knew something was up, but didn’t use it and likely didn’t want to rat on his team), to the Scott comment of “I only used a little – but I have integrity!” (ummm… yeah, right).

    1. Is there anything Newgarden could say that would make the situation better?

      I’m sure it will come up during interviews at Barber.

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