Big switch is on

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport - Craig Lown­des

ICAN see a lot of peo­ple will be up­set with James Court­ney’s de­ci­sion to leave DJR and Ford and go to HRT. The orig­i­nal word was that he was go­ing to stay with Ford and had a hand­shake deal to go to FPR.

Now he’s changed his views and ap­par­ently is sign­ing with HRT.

I sup­pose it’s not called the silly sea­son for noth­ing.

I’ve been there and done that my­self, so I can’t say I blame him.

He’s nat­u­rally look­ing for the best op­por­tu­ni­ties for him­self and his spon­sors to win races next year and he feels he has to look out­side his team be­cause of the in­ter­nal strife they’ve had this year.

There are a few other move­ments around the pits, no­tably Will Dav­i­son ap­par­ently mov­ing from HRT to FPR. For both Will and James it will be in­ter­est­ing times swap­ping man­u­fac­tur­ers, but it won’t be any­thing like the con­tro­versy that I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in my two switches.

There are a lot more man­u­fac­turer swaps among driv­ers these days and they will be­come more com­mon as driv­ers look for the best op­por­tu­ni­ties and as more and more fans fol­low a driver or team rather than a man­u­fac­turer.

The sea­son couldn’t have fin­ished in more bizarre cir­cum­stances with the two red flags at Sandown in the sec­ond-last round and then the top five crash­ing out in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances in last Satur­day’s race.

Some peo­ple say that race should have been red-flagged like the Sandown races and that might have yielded a com­pletely dif­fer­ent cham­pi­onship re­sult.

But I think it was the right de­ci­sion to al­low the race to con­tinue un­der a safety car and then restart.

They man­aged to clear the cir­cuit very quickly, the track wasn’t blocked and there were no safety is­sues, so there was no need for a red flag.

On Mon­day night we had our an­nual awards night in Syd­ney. It’s the one time each year I ac­tu­ally get dressed up.

But it was quite strange this year for me be­cause it was the first one I’ve been to with­out my wife, Nat. She’s been re­cov­er­ing from an ill­ness.

It was still a great night and our en­gi­neers gave an in­spir­ing speech when they ac­cepted the best team award.

For me, it was one of my best years yet, de­spite fin­ish­ing fourth in the cham­pi­onship. I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve, win­ning both of the en­duros and stay­ing in cham­pi­onship con­tention for much of the sea­son. Win­ning the Aus­tralasian Sa­fari was an un­ex­pected bonus.

King of Syd­ney: James Court­ney cel­e­brates af­ter his cham­pi­onship­clinch­ing win.

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