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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Adderton calls for Supercars to buy out Kostecki contract

Peter Adderton headshot, Gold Coast 500, October 2023
Peter Adderton wants Supercars to buy out Brodie Kostecki’s Erebus Motorsport contract. Image: InSyde Media

The 2023 champion made his first public appearance since the saga at the Barry Ryan-led team was brought into the open when he attended the Motorsport Australia National Awards in the past 24 hours, where he told guests he is “unsure what the immediate future holds.”

Kostecki refrained from elaborating on the situation due to legal sensitivities but what is certain is that he will not be driving an Erebus Camaro when the 2024 season starts this month at Mount Panorama.

Todd Hazelwood will fill the breach there but the team is making plans for a lasting absence, given it handed laps to Jayden Ojeda during its recent test day in what was said to have been an ‘evaluation’.

Adderton, a personal sponsor of Kostecki’s and a former sponsor of Erebus’s through Boost Mobile, argues that Supercars needs to step in and break the deadlock.

A resolution is of heightened importance now, he argues, because the current television rights agreement expires at the end of the 2025 season and hence talks over a new deal will likely be starting this year.

Adderton told the Rusty’s Garage podcast, “They should go to Betty [Klimenko, team owner] and Barry and say, ‘You know what? He’s not coming back, it’s dragging the sport into the ground, let us buy his contract out.’

“If I ran Supercars right now, I’d be straight down to Betty and Barry going, ‘I’ll buy out his contract. Whatever you want, just tell me, and I’ll buy it out, because this is no good for anybody.

“‘It’s not good for you as a team and it’s not good for us as a sport and it’s certainly not good for the fans.’

“And they’ve got TV rights coming up to negotiate, right?

“This is being dragged through the mainstream media now – not just the motorsport media; the mainstream media – [so] they need to shut this down and they need to shut it down quickly.”

Among team ownership, there is a sense that the controversy – or at least the lack of a champion to market to the public – is indeed doing damage to the sport, notwithstanding the sugar hit of mainstream coverage.

Adderton’s suggestion is consistent with the opinion put forward by Roland Dane in his most recent Speedcafe column, when he wrote, “Brodie should be on the grid as soon as possible.

“If that means a change of team, then make that happen. It’s happened in other categories over the years at short notice.

“There are tools at Supercars’ disposal that they can use. Have the guts to use them if necessary and ensure that the best interests of the sport as a whole are upheld.”

READ MORE: Roland’s View: The Kostecki Affair

Existing team owners, though, might look on Adderton’s idea less favourably, given the free kick which it would afford to the lucky competitor which is able to oust one of its current drivers to make room for Kostecki.

Brodie Kostecki, wearing a cool suit, stands next to his Erebus Camaro on the starting grid at the Supercars Gold Coast 500 in October 2023
Brodie Kostecki will not be driving for Erebus at the Bathurst 500. Image: InSyde Media

It has also been put to Speedcafe that such intervention on Supercars’ part would set a dangerous precedent for future fallouts between a driver and their team.

Supercars CEO Shane Howard, in an open letter published in the hours after the latest Roland’s View went live on Speedcafe, claimed the category has been trying to help achieve a resolution in the Kostecki drama.

However, he also declared that, “The circumstances at hand are ultimately a matter between the owners and management of Erebus Motorsport and their contracted driver, Brodie Kostecki.”

Adderton, though, called for Supercars to exercise stronger leadership not just on the Kostecki matter but other issues within the category.

“Their whole strategy has been, for the last 20 years, ‘Ah, don’t worry, just sweep it under the rug, it’ll all go away, don’t worry, we start the racing and everybody will be all excited,’” he continued.

“It’s not going to do that, it’s not going to go away, and they need to fix it.

“And they all can fix it, it’s just no one’s taking the leadership, they’re all basically sitting there.

“Supercars is basically a backbone looking for a spine; they don’t have one and they need to get one and they need to get it soon.

“And by the way, this is a bunch of issues that are related; not just to what Brodie’s going through, but you can go back to looking at the parity of Gen3, you can go all the way back and having a look at some of the issues that Supercars have had without making strong decisions, and we are where we are now because of it.”

The season starts with opening practice at Mount Panorama on Friday week.

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