The FIA stewards have imposed a conditional fine on Formula Regional team MP F1 Flow due to the inappropriate use of emojis by one of its team members in the championship’s official WhatsApp group.
During the first race of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA) on Saturday, a collision with Joshua Dufek of Van Amersfoort Racing sent MP F1 Flow’s driver, Sami Meguetounif, skidding into the gravel at Les Combes.
After considering the incident, the championship’s stewards ruled it a racing event, placing no explicit blame on either driver.
The decision, shared with all competitors in the championship’s official WhatsApp group, seemed to upset a team member from MP F1 Flow.
The individual first posted a poo emoji, subsequently replaced it with a clown emoji, and then deleted both.
In response to this emoji usage, the stewards expelled the team member from the WhatsApp group and imposed a suspended fine of 2,000 euros on the Dutch junior formula team.
The stewards’ unique decision document stated that “a team member of MP F1 Flow used an emoji symbolizing ‘a swirl of brown poo’, only to delete it minutes later and substitute it with an emoji representing ‘a clown’, which was also removed after a short time.”
The stewards clarified that such actions were not acceptable as they were disrespectful to the decision made.
Citing articles 12.2 and 12.2.1.k of the FIA International Sporting Code, they deemed the misconduct to be a breach of rules, defining it as “the use of expression which might be reasonably expected or perceived to cause offence, humiliation or to be inappropriate.”
The 2,000 euro fine imposed on MP F1 Flow will remain suspended until the conclusion of the 2023 FRECA, provided there are no similar violations.
While it is a novel concept to remove team members from WhatsApp groups due to emoji misuse, the messaging platform has been known to be a source of occasional blunders by team members and journalists across different championships, including F1.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Inappropriate Emoji Use
What was the inappropriate behavior in the official WhatsApp group?
A team member from MP F1 Flow used inappropriate emojis, namely a poo emoji and a clown emoji, in response to a decision shared by the stewards in the championship’s official WhatsApp group.
Which racing team was handed a suspended fine, and why?
MP F1 Flow was handed a suspended fine of 2,000 euros by the FIA stewards because a team member posted inappropriate emojis in the Formula Regional European Championship’s official WhatsApp group.
Who were involved in the racing incident during the FRECA competition?
Sami Meguetounif from MP F1 Flow and Joshua Dufek from Van Amersfoort Racing were involved in a racing incident. However, the stewards deemed it a racing event, attributing no specific blame to either driver.
What does the FIA International Sporting Code say about such misconduct?
According to articles 12.2 and 12.2.1.k of the FIA International Sporting Code, any misconduct, such as the use of expressions that could be expected or perceived to cause offense, humiliation, or be inappropriate, is considered a breach of the rules.
What is the condition for the suspension of the 2,000 euro fine?
The 2,000 euro fine will be suspended until the end of the 2023 FRECA season, provided there are no similar violations by the MP F1 Flow team.