Should Adrian Burgess have been allowed to move directly from Supercars to a race team?
The appointment of the category's outgoing Head of Motorsport as Team Principal at Team 18 has caused an almighty stir in pit lane.
So, in this week's Pirtek Poll, we ask you, should Supercars prevent its motorsport boss from immediately moving to a team?
Rivals are angry that Burgess will arrive in Mount Waverley with contemporary, privileged knowledge of their data, which he had access to in his Supercars role.
They were also concerned that he would be part of upcoming wind tunnel testing, although it now appears that will not be the case given his successor, Tim Edwards, will travel to Windshear's North Carolina facility later this week.
Nevertheless, both Triple Eight Race Engineering Team Manager Mark Dutton and Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan are of the view that Burgess should not be allowed to move from Supercars to race team so quickly, and it is understood that opinion is held near enough to unanimously within the paddock.
Even Edwards, who makes the opposite move (broadly speaking), reasoned that the issue is arguably more sensitive now than it would have been before because of the identical specifications of the Gen3 race cars.
“Now, when we've all got exactly the same pick-up points, the same dampers, all those things, it does become more of an issue than it's ever probably been in the past because of the similarity of the cars,” he said in Adelaide, while wearing a Tickford Racing shirt for one of the last times.
In fairness to Schwerkolt and Burgess, there is no suggestion either party has broken any rules or contracts, and if Supercars is not paying gardening leave, then how can it reasonably ask the latter to refrain from seeking alternate employment?
Burgess' official start with Team 18 is February 1, 2024, per its announcement, although it is believed that could be brought forward depending on when his Supercars duties wrap up.
As noted, he is unlikely to be part of the wind tunnel test after all and did not attend at the Vailo Adelaide 500.
Still, Burgess had access to teams' data for all 11 other events of the 2023 season.
The situation, arguably, is not dissimilar to that which Formula 1 faced in 2017 when FIA technical chief Marcin Budkowski moved to Renault, although his access to the Anglo-French squad's facilities would be restricted for the first six months of his tenure.
Six months is a relatively long time in the context of F1 car development, whereas Supercars teams do not develop their cars any more.
On the other hand, a Camaro and Mustang are about to undergo wind tunnel testing, which could lead to changes to the aerodynamic packages of one or both of those vehicles.
Noting the Ford teams' experience learning their new aero packages after two changes during the 2023 season, one could conceivably argue that, if the Camaro is tweaked, then Burgess' knowledge is obsolete already.
His rivals, though, are unlikely to be so apathetic about the matter.
Unlike the case of an individual simply moving from one team to another, Burgess can compare data from 11 teams, which is presumably still insightful even if the bodywork of a car(s) changes somewhat from one season to the next.
So, what do you think? Should Supercars enforce a non-compete clause which prevents its Head of Motorsport (or General Manager of Motorsport, which will be Edwards' title) from immediately joining a team?
Cast your vote below in this week's Pirtek Poll.