Supercars driver Mark Winterbottom has been shoved and abused in shocking pit lane scenes after attempting to apologise for causing a massive crash at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.
Vision showed Winterbottom in the garage of Erebus Racing rival Will Brown where tempers quickly flared.
During the argument, Winterbottom was heard saying “sorry” as he attempted to defend his actions, while a furious Brown tried to explain the massive impact of the crash.
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“You went from the left to the right. You don’t understand how big it was,” he told Winterbottom.
“I understand if you hit someone in the hairpin, it’s a little bit f*****g cr*p.
“You didn’t even apologise on TV so you’re obviously not sorry.
“You literally turned into me.
“That was honestly one of the biggest crashes I’ve ever had.
“I was lying on the ground like three minutes after.
“There’s nothing you can say … you deliberately did it.”
On what should have been a celebratory day for Winterbottom after it was announced he’d signed a new deal with Team 18 to race until at least the end of 2024, things went awry fast on Sunday.
On the opening lap of Race 28, Winterbottom and Brown came together, with the contact sending Brown slamming into the pit exit barrier at a reported 56 G’s.
“That’s a bell-ringer, my ribs are hurting just looking at it,” commentator Neil Crompton said.
Luckily for Brown, he was not seriously injured and was cleared to return to pit lane after his medical check up.
Unfortunately for the Erebus team, the car was totalled by the impact.
Heading into see Brown a short time later, Winterbottom was abused and shoved repeatedly by Erebus Team Principal Barry Ryan in shocking scenes.
“That’s a bit unnecessary from Barry to do that,” commentator Greg Murphy said.
“They’ve got a red car, a deadset red car.
“There’s a lot of frustration and anger in this one.”
A furious Ryan later told media he believed Winterbottom should “lose his licence” after the crash.
“It’s crystal clear that he did it on purpose,” he said.
The crash was bad news for Murphy, after it was announced this week he would use the chassis as a Bathurst wildcard entry in less than a month’s time.
He said he didn’t think there’d be time to get the car back in shape for a Bathurst bid.
“I don’t believe it was intentional in any way shape or form, but it’s an error on behalf of Mark Winterbottom there,” Murphy said.
“Came off the kerb by the looks of it and it’s clouted the side of Will Brown who was just going about his business and earned the right to be where he was.
“But the damage to that car, I’ve had a good look underneath it and there’s a lot of broken bars and metal, part of that whole structure, that whole key structure with the roll cage.
“I’m not really sure where we’re gonna be, there’s gonna be a lot of evaluation required very, very quickly.
“I’ve seen some damaged cars before but that one takes the cake.”
Winterbottom was handed a drive-through penalty for the crash and admitted his actions were a “bad visual”.
“It looks bad, it always looks bad when someone ends up like that,” he said.
“I can see why (Brown) would be angry and disappointed.
“I’ll cop it, glad he’s okay, that’s the main thing.”
The damaged car will be put on a plane back to Melbourne this week with hopes it could be salvaged for Bathurst.
Originally published as ‘You deliberately did that’: Crash sparks heated scenes, accusation