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FRECA outfit MP Motorsport handed suspended fine over emoji use

The FIA stewards have handed Formula Regional outfit MP Motorsport a suspended fine after a team member posted inappropriate emojis in the championship's official WhatsApp group.

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In Saturday's first race of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA) at Spa-Francorchamps, MP Motorsport driver Sami Meguetounif was tipped into the gravel after contact with Van Amersfoort Racing's Joshua Dufek at Les Combes.

The single-seater championship's stewards deemed the contact a racing incident, with neither driver wholly to blame.

When they posted their decision in the championship's official WhatsApp group, which the stewards use to share their decision documents with all competitors, the verdict appeared to anger a member of MP Motorsport.

The team member first posted a poo emoji, which they then removed and replaced by a clown emoji, that was also later deleted.

The stewards were not amused by the faecal matter and decided to throw the team member out of the notice board group as well as handing the Dutch junior formula outfit a suspended €2000 fine.

In a rather extraordinary decision document, the stewards noted that "a team member of MP Motorsport displayed an emoticon symbolising 'a swirl of brown poo' and removed it after a few minutes, to replace it by a new emoticon symbolising 'a clown' and removed it after a few minutes.

 

Photo by: Sebastian Rozendall / Dutch Photo Agency

"The stewards determined that aforementioned comments were not appropriate, as it was disrespectful of the decision taken.

"According to article 12.2 and 12.2.1.k [of the] FIA International Sporting Code, shall be deemed to be a breach of these rules any misconduct which is defined in the ISC as 'the use of expression which might be reasonably expected or perceived to cause offence, humiliation or to be inappropriate.'"

MP's €2000 fine is suspended until the end of the 2023 FRECA "in case of a repeat of this infringement," which is thought to be unlikely.

While removing personnel from WhatsApp groups over their use of emojis is considered new, the messaging system has been known to prompt the odd faux-pas by team members and journalists across championships, including F1.

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