FIA to provide video evidence and improve stewarding of incidents in 2009

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F1 fans will be able to scrutinise controversial incidents more closely in 2009
F1 fans will be able to scrutinise controversial incidents more closely in 2009

The FIA is to introduce a series of changes to how its rules are enforced during F1 weekends.

In a significant change the FIA will ensure all video evidence relating to controversial moments is made available to the public via its and FOM’s websites.

It did so following the questionable penalties given to Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Sebastien Bourdais during the Japanese Grand Prix.

It will also provided more detailed information as to why a particular penalty was handed out. At present the stewards issue very short statements that explain little more than what penalty has been issued.

It is also to begin bringing trainee stewads to five F1 rounds per year. Any stewards who is to officiate at an F1 race will have to have attended at least one race in this capacity to be qualified for stewarding duties in future. These trainee stewards may include former drivers.

There was outcry among F1 fans and criticism from several drivers including Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber and Jenson Button following a string of dubious decisions during the 2008 championship, chiefly at Fuji and Spa.

The changes go some way to making necessary improvements and the moves to improve transparency are especially welcome.

But these changes do not address the large grey areas in the application of the rules. The gap between the rules as written and how they are enforced can be huge – particularly on matters of driving standards. Past precedent on these matters is extremely hard to follow and often appears contradictory.

Still, at least the FIA understands improvement is urgently needed and has acted upon it.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “FIA to provide video evidence and improve stewarding of incidents in 2009”

  1. Agree with you there Keith – while there continues to be grey, hazy areas in the rules there will continue to be decisions that appear controversial.

    I applaud the FIA for taking action but don’t think it’s enough. What’s wrong with the same stewards at every round?

  2. What’s funny is the (tongue-in-cheek?) ‘Note‘ at the end of the piece saying that former drivers are eligibile to become stewards. Can you imagine Jackie Stewart, Nicki Lauda or Jody Scheckter going through an FIA approval process and Max actually letting them make decisions?

    But your analysis is spot on, Keith. While these changes are welcome, what’s missing is any intention to spell out what the rules actually are.

  3. Alex has it right. Providing evidence of the “facts” will clarify nothing if the rules are neither clear nor applied consistently.

  4. getting rid of Donnelly would have made the whole thing a bit simpler

  5. I guess this is better than the earlier widely proposed solution of making former drivers stewards.
    I am strongly against it; since it would only lead to more controversy.

    Can you imagine what will happen if MSC does not penalise ferrari or Mika Hakkinen does not penalise Mclaren ! !

    Kudos to FIA! !Finally You people see some common sense

  6. It’s a start and finally too. Indeed some may even say hallelujah! The FIA is slowly being dragged, kicking and screaming I bet, into the 21st century.

    What a shame it needs controversial events to make them alter their ways. They should be leading the way just like F1 cars and F1 technology.

    tut tut FIA…

  7. Still not enough by the FIA in my opinion. Everything left it to them to decide whether or not to post any video, and they will still show only the video that supports their decisions.

    Clarification of the actual rules, providing detail as to the specific penalties associated with breaking them, and creating a history of precedents is what is needed. If they want to treat each infraction on the track like a legal case, with appeals and everything, then it all needs to be documented out in a detailed fashion so there is LESS private interpretation of what the rules and consequences are. I say ‘less’ because there will always be private interpretation, but the more detailed things become, the easier it is to determine when someone’s interpretation crosses the line.

    The stewards penalty at Spa could have been more clear cut if only the rules stated that the driver had to wait until the next corner to re-pass. Stating only that ‘the track and only the track shall be used’ (or whatever vague wording it has) leaves way to much for private interpretation by the stewards.

  8. As most everyone else has said: Yes, it’s a good start. But it certainly doesn’t address the “consistency of rules enforcement” issue. Also, I don’t see where it limits the imput and impact of Mad Max and his minions.

  9. decisions need to be speeded up during the race, hopefully this will happen

  10. It’s a step in the right direction, but only one step.
    As Alex (post 4) says, get rid of Donnelly and his ‘political’ guidance.
    Qualification for stewardship = watch one race !!!
    I guess we should all apply then :)
    Hopefully the results of any inquisition posted on the FIA site will not be a bunch of Max legalistic jargon.

  11. I’m glad to hear this, it’s a good start. Next step would to be abolish after-race penalties. Decisions need to be made quickly and during the race.

  12. They had to start somewhere and this is as good a place as any.

    At least if we get a clearer explanation of rulings then we may be able to understand them a little better.

    As others have said, there is still a lot more to be done, I’m with D Winn, we should all contact the FIA and see if we can apply for the positions.

    Their contact details can be found at:

    Good luck :~)

    I don’t mind who the stewards are although I think it’s about time we had a team of professional stewards who could be trained by people like Charlie Whiting to officiate the races.

    A team of 9 would mean that any 3 could be picked for each race, as they become more experienced they could then train up more stewards who are currently working on national & club races.

    It’s all a bit pointless without some clearly defined rules though.

  13. What i think they should do is keep a database of past stewarding decisions and make them accessible to the stewards during the race. that database could include videos of past incidents and their stewarding decisions and reasoning. Then link these incidents by key words such as chicane, overtake, unsafe pit exit. So anytime a new incident occurs, they can just search for past incidents, compare, and decide. I feel more consistency can be achieved this way, and less public furore.

  14. I don’t think there’s anything the FIA can do to please everyone anyway – ex-drivers would be accused of bias towards or against teams, any time a driver/team gets a penalty that is in any way less than black and white, there’ll be people on each side of the fence crying foul. They can only do so much.

  15. I am just staggered that there is no current requirement for Stewards to have attended an F1 race prior to officiating at one !

    That’s like asking me to be a ref at a soccer match ;)

    Well anyway, all of this appears to be a start. And as long as it improves the quality of stewarding, thats the main thing.

  16. I disagree. We should already realise how priveleged we are to be able to air our views on the sport/s we love by punching a keyboard and clicking a mouse . Decisions made by Stewards and FIA should be accepted and respected . Like it or not , the past season was after all fantastic , ending in the Brazillian GP (my heart was actually pounding at the end) , and the FIA must also be given a share of the credit for that. Now they have allowed slicks to return and restricted aero. , which will result in even better racing . Positive stuff. So let them be and continue to move forward , they are doing a great job.

  17. The only thing the FIA has said that makes sense to me, is when they talk about trying to make their decisions during the race and not afterwards. This can enable the teams to come out with counter arguments on why they believe the decision is wrong.

    The idea of releasing video evidence afterwards has been done already. The post Fuji release of videos by the FIA went as far as to even contradict their own decision process, and it doesn’t help in any way redressing the damage that may have been done by such poorly judge decisions.

    I believe what is more important is the consistency of these decisions regarding penalties, and not the process by which they arrive at them.

  18. I think the changes fall way short of what is required, it seems a peice-meal attempt to keep the critics quiet. But at least it is a step in the right direction.. making sure a steward has actually seen one F1 race before letting them officiate…..

  19. What would be a reason why the rules are not spelled out? Is it because it’s too difficult to change the rules once they are written down?

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