QUESTIONABLE EXCLUSION RUINS METCALFE'S CHAMPIONSHIP Formula Renault UK front-runner Jeremy Metcalfe is today considering his future involvement in the 2006 championship after a tumultuous 12th round which saw the 18-year-old excluded from the...
QUESTIONABLE EXCLUSION RUINS METCALFE'S CHAMPIONSHIP
Formula Renault UK front-runner Jeremy Metcalfe is today considering his future involvement in the 2006 championship after a tumultuous 12th round which saw the 18-year-old excluded from the race results for allegedly 'driving in a manner incompatible with general safety' despite clear video evidence to the contrary.
Along with the exclusion, which is currently subject to an appeal to the Motor Sports Association (MSA) the Fleet-based teenager also saw his licence endorsed with four penalty points following a racing incident involving Fortec Motorsport's Sam Bird on the opening lap of the category's second race at Donington Park on Sunday.
Having qualified sixth on the grid, Jeremy made a great start and at Redgate Corner he rounded the outside of a number of cars including fourth-placed Bird. As the pair ran wheel-to-wheel towards Hollywood the Fortec driver unexpectedly moved left before taking the right hand turn, his left rear wheel coming into contact with Jeremy's right front wheel and Bird spun off the track into the tyre wall.
With no apparent damage to his car, Jeremy recovered into 11th position but the Safety Car was deployed on lap two to clear away Bird's seriously damaged FR 2.0. After the re-start on lap six Jeremy mounted a terrific recovery and made up a number of places.
The aftermath of the race saw the Clerk of the Course act to exclude Jeremy from the results due to the incident involving Bird. Attempts to reverse the decision at the circuit were unsuccessful, leaving both driver and team with no option but to refer the matter to an MSA tribunal.
"We are absolutely disgusted with the treatment we have received this weekend", said an extremely disgruntled Robert Metcalfe (Jeremy's father) following the judicial decision, "Actually, it's the latest in a long line of questionable decisions from those who manage the series with a penalty completely inappropriate for what the raceday commentator described as a 'racing incident'.
"I sat watching the replays of the incident in question over and over again and you can clearly see Sam Bird move over on Jeremy even though he had nowhere to go. Nobody likes to see a driver crash, and we are all glad to hear Sam has escaped serious injury, but in no way was Jeremy to blame for what happened."
Robert added: "This weekend has made us seriously consider our position in Formula Renault UK and with decisions like this we now have to think long and hard as to whether it is worth continuing in the championship.
"It's a possibility we could go and race in another category, either here or abroad, so it remains to be seen if we'll still be in Formula Renault UK at Snetterton in a fortnight's time. To say we're very disappointed is an understatement."
Regardless of the outcome to the appeal Jeremy will remain fifth overall in the championship standings. If his exclusion stands though, he will not be permitted to count it as one of his two 'drop scores' at the end of the season which would have serious implications for his eventual points total.
Robert continued: "The whole Renault experience is turning out to be a poor one for us and, if my understanding of the current feeling in the paddock is correct, we are not the only ones who feel this way".