A1 Team Malaysia has hit back at the criticism levelled in its direction by rivals Ireland following a collision between Fairuz Fauzy and Adam Carroll in Sunday's feature race at Kyalami.
Although television pictures showed the incident, it was difficult to apportion where blame, if any, lay - causing the two sides to exchange heated views in the post-race summaries.
The Irish team, which lost the championship lead to reigning champions Switzerland as a result of Carroll failing to score, insist that its racewinner was 'punted out' of the event having already passed Fauzy before he turned in for turn five on the opening lap.
"I'm pretty annoyed, pretty angry," Carroll fumed, "I made a good start and had already made up positions and we were having a battle. Malaysia was slow coming onto the back straight, so I used my push-to-pass and knew I was ahead. I even turned in quite late to give him some room, but he just hit me in the back right corner.”
Team principal Mark Gallagher was equally frustrated with what he described as an 'unacceptable incident'.
“Frankly, I'm disgusted," he said, "It's taken us four seasons to get to this level of competitiveness. We're pushing to win a championship and it's not the only time that this driver has caused incidents - in fact, he did the same thing to New Zealand later in the race. We were on course to consolidate our points lead today, but for a piece of poor driving. Team Malaysia is one of the very best in A1GP but, today, their driver has cost us dearly."
The Malaysian operation, however, has called the outburst misplaced, suggesting that Fauzy should be held as the villain of the piece, as Carroll had attempted a 'high risk' move. Indeed, the team insists that Fauzy had actually pulled over and not tried to defend his position, pointing to the steward's inquiry after the race that led to the conclusion that it was a racing incident.
"It's understandable that A1 Team Ireland was feeling emotional and frustrated after this incident, considering also that they lost the lead in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport," chief executive Jack Cunningham responded, "However, to blame Fairuz for the incident is unfair and we think the Irish team should stick to trying to win races rather than blaming others for their misfortune. A1 Team Ireland is a highly respected team, but on this occasion their comments are ill-judged."