The racing environment is unique to other competitive sports in that a measure of cooperation must exist amongst the competitors in order to reach the end of the race and accomplish a goal.   For most the goal is getting to the end of the race with a chance to win or finish well.  But what happens when that cooperation doesn’t exist?  Sometimes accidents happen.  Sometimes it’s just a mistake. On occasion, however, accidents result from a malicious intent that adversely impacts another member’s racing experience.    In these cases, there must be an arbiter of disagreements between competitors, namely the sanctioning body through its protest and appeals system.

“The fear of other’s judgment is surely one of the surest supporting pillars of morality.” – Gustave Le Bon

Someone started a thread in the forums recently regarding successful protests.  One question asked was “How many successful protest have you had?”  This leads to the question of “What is a successful protest?”  There are certainly going to be as many answers to that question as there are people.   I consider a protest successful if it corrects a single occurrence or a pattern of inappropriate behavior.   On the other hand, to some members a successful protest is one that is accepted by the stewards and processed through the system.  So how many is that?  Tony Gardner gave you some rough numbers in the article he wrote just prior to 2012 Season #2.  “The Protest System”.

The new system has been in place for a full season and we’ll share some statics with you.  First we’ll need to define some terms that may not be self-explanatory or commonly used.  Keep in mind that these are used internally.

Coached:  Generally advice or instruction given to a first time offender.

Multi-Player (Series & Events):  Race and Qualifying Sessions.

Multi-Player (All):  Sessions where member would interact with others on track.

Service Wide: Cannot access any part of the service.

Accepted:  Protest that requires action or coaching.

Racing Incident:  After reviewing the protest it’s determined there was no malicious intent.

No Replay:  No replay attached with protest.

Protest Incomplete: Not enough information for the stewards to proceed with protest.

Case Already Opened:  There has already been a protest submitted and in process for the same incident.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.  During Season #2 (May through July, 2012) there were 437, 558 multi-player sessions.

Practice                371128

Qual                       41593

Race                      24837

There were 2,786 protests filed in that same time, 51% of them were accepted and warranted action.  You can see how it breaks down by clicking on the chart below.

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This graph is based on the number of “Accepted” protest.  We can see which section of the Sporting Code the vast majority of actionable protests come from in the next graph.

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What are the outcomes of the protests that are accepted? You can see that 28% of the time there is a restriction placed on a member as a result of a protest and 72% are given some coaching on what they did wrong, why, and how to prevent it in the future.    As you read on, these numbers are consistent with the number of members that are protested once, or more than once.

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I mentioned appeals in the beginning as one of the responsibilities of the sanctioning body.  Everyone who’s received a penalty as the result of a protest may have an appeal heard by the Appeals Board.  The process is very similar to the protests. Section 9 of the Sporting Code outlines the process.  I thought since we’ve shown the protest numbers, we should also show how appeals breakdown.  There have been 112 appeals submitted during Season 2.   As you can see in the chart below, there was nearly a 50/50 chance to have a penalty lessened.

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So back to the “What is a successful protest?”   Earlier, I gave you what I consider to be successful, but I’m sure there are other opinions.  However, take a look at the last bit of data, one also based on the “Accepted” protest.  1131 different members had protests filed against them during Season #2.  (Remember we have 35,000+ members.)  Of those 1131, just 6% were protested three or more times, 15% were protested twice, and 79% of them were protested only once.  I would call that an 80% success rate.

So there you have it, some raw stats on the protest system.  We’ll continue to do a report after each season and provide the statistics via a blog or forum post.

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