The Honda Yuasa Racing Team have been hit with a suspended fine and series ban following comments made by their driver, Matt Neal, in the most recent Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting at Rockingham.
Neal had criticised TOCA and the current BTCC regulations in an article published by Autosport at the conclusion of the event in Corby, and made an apology in a statement issued on Saturday morning at Silverstone regarding the comments.
The championship organisers issued the following statement:
“Following the recent BTCC event at Rockingham the Championship Administrator, Alan Gow, requested the Championship Stewards to enquire into a matter concerning Matt Neal in order to determine if it was prejudicial to the Championship and/or had brought the Championship into disrepute.
“The Championship Stewards subsequently met on Tuesday 23rd September and, after having heard from Matt Neal, found that ‘such remarks are prejudicial and have brought the Championship into disrepute.’ On the decision of the Championship Stewards, penalties are then imposed by the Championship Administrator in accordance with Regulation 4.4.4.
“On this matter the Championship Administrator has therefore determined that Team Dynamics be fined the sum of £25,000.
“Additionally, TOCA have deemed that Team Dynamics are in breach of Clause 7 of the TOCA BTCC License (‘TBL’) by bringing the Championship, the TOCA officials and the organisation into disrepute. Accordingly both TBLs held by Team Dynamics are revoked.
“Team Dynamics and Matt Neal are highly valued participants in the BTCC, whose participation spans more than two decades. Their deep and long-term commitment to this Championship is greatly respected and valued. In view of this the Championship Administrator suspends both penalties until December 31st 2015, on which date these will be discharged if no further infractions occur during that time.
Neal himself commented: “I regret the comments made to a member of the press in the immediate aftermath of the recent BTCC event at Rockingham and sincerely apologise for any offence they may have caused.
“It was never my intention to bring the series into disrepute and therefore I understand that my comments were unacceptable and completely accept the sanctions imposed.
“I am fully committed to Honda, Team Dynamics and the BTCC – a series I have loved and raced in for many many years – and look forward to moving on from this incident with immediate effect.”