Supercars has clarified its position on team orders, confirming that a reworked version of the regulation now allows teams to shuffle its own drivers.
Confusion over the legality of team orders was exposed last time out in Pukekohe when Triple Eight drivers Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen traded spots on the final lap of Sunday's race.
The swap wasn't done via direct order, however, Whincup told he needed to conserve fuel before he slowed by the tune of 12s over half a lap to let van Gisbergen past.
The team then continued to deny that team orders had been used, fuelling the conception that shuffling drivers is still technically illegal in the category.
Supercars, however, has now clarified that a change to the regulation made at the end of 2017 now allows teams to use team orders inside its own garage.
The word 'team' has been removed from a key sentence in the regulation, which means third parties – such as other teams linked by a manufacturer or sponsor – can't get involved in a race, but a team can make its own internal orders.
The third-party reference is to avoid DTM-style use of major manufacturer presence to help particular drivers, and is understood to be founded on the 2006 Supercars title fight between then-Ford and Holden rivals Craig Lowndes and Rick Kelly.
The rule now reads:
D24.1 Team Orders
24.1.1 Means an instruction to a Driver or Team member, either verbal or otherwise the effect of which may interfere with a race result.
24.1.2 It is not permitted for any sponsor, supplier, entity or related entity, including an Automobile manufacturer, importer or their representative to impose or seek to impose Team orders, on any Team.
The 24.1.2 is the sentence that no longer includes the word 'team'.
According to a summary from Supercars: 'The specific parties noted in D24.1.2 cannot instruct any driver or team, either verbal or otherwise the effect of which may interfere with a race result.
"These parties do not include teams or drivers giving or receiving instructions within their own teams."
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