A step forward in stewarding – so far

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Webber escaped a penalty for colliding with Hamilton in Melbourne

The standards of refereeing in Formula 1 has been a hotly-disputed topic in recent years after a catalogue of controversial judgements.

For the first time this year experienced racing drivers have been brought in to advise the stewards. At the same time, the role of permanent steward previously occupied by Alan Donnelly has been abolished.

On the evidence so far this seems to have coincided with a badly-needed outbreak of calm and common sense.

Relying on reprimands

Over the first four races we’ve seen the stewards avoid using the strongest punishments available to them, opting instead for reprimands. Here’s a summary of the major decisions they’ve taken so far (ignoring speeding fines and yellow flag infractions outside of the race):

AustraliaPedro de la RosaImpeded another driver in practiceReprimand
AustraliaMark WebberCollided with Lewis HamiltonReprimand
MalaysiaLewis HamiltonWeaving in front of Vitaly PetrovBlack and white flag
MalaysiaSebastian VettelOvertook Jarno Trulli under yellow flagsNone
ChinaFernando AlonsoJumped startDrive-through
ChinaLewis HamiltonDangerous driving in pit laneReprimand
ChinaSebastian VettelDangerous driving in pit laneReprimand

In the case of Webber’s collision with Hamilton at Australia, this sort of thing has been penalised in the past – for example, when Heikki Kovalainen hit Webber at Spa in 2008.

Should a failed overtaking attempt that leads to a collision automatically incur a penalty? I’m not convinced it should, and if this is a new interpretation it’s one I’m entirely happy with.

Reprimands were also issued for Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s driving in the pit lane at Shanghai, which attracted a huge amount of debate.

First, let’s clear up the facts: McLaren released Hamilton only fractionally later than Red Bull let Vettel go, certainly not late enough for them to get a penalty for an ‘unsafe release’. Hamilton ended up side-by-side with Vettel because he got out of his pit box more slowly than the Red Bull driver did.

Hamilton should have eased off the throttle and let Vettel go, but he didn’t, so he got a reprimand. Vettel should not have edged Hamilton towards the (vacant) pit boxes of other teams, but he did, so he also got a reprimand.

I suggest we can only judge whether the stewards got this one right if their decision stops it happening again – because dangerous driving in the pit lane such as this clearly cannot be allowed.

Does a reprimand set a limit of what a driver can get away with? If so, then they’ve been too soft – it’s no different to giving no penalty.

But if these reprimands mean “if anyone does that again they’ll be punished”, then I think the stewards have laid down some useful markers. We shall see.

The Hamilton-Petrov incident at Sepang was discussed at length here: Drivers as stewards make presence felt as Hamilton gets black-and-white flag


It was inevitable that bringing in people with recent F1 experience to the stewards’ office was going to lead to accusations that they favour teams they used to work for and drivers they liked.

So far the drivers’ representatives have been chosen well. Alain Prost, Tom Kristensen, Johnny Herbert and Alexander Wurz cannot be accused of being short on experience (though I do wonder what Prost’s take would be one someone knocking their rival off the track to win a world championship).

Nor do they have any obvious axes to grind, or particular vested interests that should disqualify them from the job. Whereas putting someone like Keke Rosberg or Ron Dennis in the room – however knowledgeable and impartial they are – would send out the wrong message given their closeness to particular drivers and teams.

The suggestion from some quarters that Wurz might be inclined towards McLaren because he worked for them five years ago cannot be taken seriously. It’s not as if that was his last job, after all, he’s raced for Williams since then. And tellingly, no-one suggested it might be a conflict of interest before Wurz was asked to take any of his decisions (see here: Alexander Wurz joins Chinese GP stewards).

Weighed against the alternative – a return to the days of having decisions taken exclusively by people without top-line motor racing experience – the current solution is clearly preferable.

So far, so good

In recent seasons we couldn’t trust the stewards to stay out of even the most innocuous incidents, and swingeing penalties were often handed down with little rationale or consistency.

Fernando Alonso (Monza ’06), Lewis Hamilton (Spa ’08), Sebastien Bourdais (Fuji ’08) and others all received punishments that there totally out of proportion with their supposed infringements. Others got away with tactics indistinguishable from ones their rivals had been punished for.

The decision not to penalise Vettel for passing Trulli under yellow flags in Sepang is a good example of sensible stewarding. Had they dogmatically stuck to the rules, Vettel might have lost a deserved win. But they had the sense to see how much he’d slowed down by and made the right call.

It’s still early days – we’ve not yet seen how they handle a call on a driver going off-track and gaining an advantage – an area which has seen many dubious and controversial calls. And it remains to be seen whether some of these ‘reprimands’ will be open to abuse in the future. But I’m optimistic that F1 is heading in the right direction.

Do you think the standard of stewarding has improved in F1 this year? Have your say in the comments.

Stewarding in F1

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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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131 comments on “A step forward in stewarding – so far”

  1. Stewarding has gone from to strict, to being to lenient. I feel Vettel should have been penalised in China, and Webber should have been penalised in Australia.

    1. maybe the mcLaren team should get penalized for unsafe release

      1. The McLaren lollipop man can only really watch what whatever is in the fast lane. Vettel wasn’t in the fast lane when he released Hamilton. The Red Bull and McLaren lollipop guys released their drivers within a second of each other, and on top of that, Hamilton had wheelspin.

        I feel Hamilton had every right to stay side by side with Vettel. Vettel forcing Hamilton to the right, would have been incredibly dangerous if there were more mechanics out there.

        1. you can always lift off…

          1. “Hamilton should have eased off the throttle and let Vettel go, but he didn’t, so he got a reprimand. Vettel should not have edged Hamilton towards the (vacant) pit boxes of other teams, but he did, so he also got a reprimand.”
            It says it right there- in the article you just read!!!!!!
            It’s all well and good to have it in for someone ( after all, i have it in for people who have it in for people ;)), but it really was a 50/50 situation.

          2. You can always peel left and not look right then steer right as Vettel did.

            In that situation you have to penailse all involved parties the same – espically as they are both racing for position & both made it a dangerous situation (Hamiliton for crossing the white line & Vettel for pushing him wider).

            I personnally think that Vettle actually caused more danger (and no I’m not a Hamiliton fan) moving to the right knowing Hamiliton was there was far more dangerous than the 2 cars side by side.

        2. As Hamilton entered the pits first you would expect him to come out first anyway unless or he suffered a slow stop. The fact the Vettels box was first meant he was always going to stop and then be released just before the McLaren was, as Lewis was still travelling to his box when Vettel arrived at his. If there hadn’t been any wheelspin, I believe that Hamilton could have been released even later and still come out in front.

          1. They both suffered slow stops…

      2. McLaren released Hamilton only fractionally later than Red Bull let Vettel go, certainly not late enough for them to get a penalty for an ‘unsafe release’.

        1. Webber should not been a penalty if all and any overtaking attempts that fail get a penalty then drivers will not dare to overtake on track. A obvious ramming well that is another thing but the video shows now such thing. I agree right call on this one.

          Ham & Vet. You could argue that since the RB pit was behind the McLaren that the lolipop guy should have seen that RB lolipop guy already lifted his. If Ham hadn’t had his wheel spin he probably would slotted in right before Vet and Vet might had to lift slightly to avoid driving into the back of him. But now he had really bad wheel spin so didn’t get out right and ended up beside Vel at this point since the fast lane is only supposed to be 1 car wide (my understanding) Ham should lifted but didn’t. Vet shouldn’t have edged him over as he did but it was all vacant pits they passed as he did so. I feel reprimand is sufficient in both cases or alternative both should gotten penalty.

          I hope in the cases that reprimands been given it’s a form a president that hey do not do this again or risk getting a penalty. So another driver weaving like Ham could/should expect to risk getting a penalty because it’s been cleared as bad driving, running next to another driver in the pits on pit ground could/should be a penalty as well if you try to edge someone in the pits. Simply for any other driver do not do this or you can get a penalty instead of just a reprimand depending on circumstances (if the pits had not been empty I feel both drivers should gotten penalty but now all pits they passed was vacant). Well the Williams pit was not but that was the next one over and Ham didn’t get closer to it then a normal release and Vet didn’t start edging until after their box.

      3. It wasn’t an unsafe release, it was yet another ridiculous Hamilton move… he’s by far and away becoming the bad boy with a smug smile in F1.
        Look at the tape again. Not only on entering the pit does he pull a bullish moron move, he then proceeds to drive where the pit guys have hoses and walk!!! What an idiot. Button is a class act. Hamilton may be one of the fastest guys out there, but he needs a coach more than anybody in the paddock. He drives with Briatore/Mosley eithics.

        As far as giving Vettel a reprimand; he didn’t cross the white line so I find that other than maybe mentioning that he should be careful, I believe sharing publicly that he receive a reprimand is absurd. He didn’t break a single rule. Hamilton needed to let off and he didn’t. Even if it was a 1″ (or whatever cm equivalent) advantage that Vettel held, it was his responsibility to NOT race in the pit lanes in the pit crew area: PERIOD.

        1. I have to ask — did you actually watch that part of the race? Vettel was squeezing Hamilton into the pits area in an attempt to get him to back off. That was the most dangerous thing I’ve seen in a long time. At that point their wheels were basically interlocked, so a touch could have been really bad. I’m not saying Vettel deserves a penalty, in fact I think they should let drivers sort out every situation themselves.

          1. Hamilton shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

            Hamilton poked Vettel in the eye like a naive playground upstart, and Vettel gave him a shove back. In school, both kids would have got detention, one for starting a fight, the other for raising to the bait.

            The reprimand was a simple and proportionate response in my view.

          2. I did watch the race. I saw a driver in the appropriate place with more than a wheel advantage and I saw a driver who had a late release and clear disadvantage attempt to kill a bunch of people by not following the rules. Hamilton is quickly becoming a hot-headed punk and I’m glad Vettel didn’t budge. It was his fault. Yeah, he moved over so that Hamilton couldn’t take the pit lane spot, but he didn’t slam into him or even cross the fast lane white line. Why would Vettel deserve any punishment. He’s racing on the track and Hamilton is racing off of it to give himself an advantage. He’s got no class despite his kind remarks “after” the race.

    2. And many will say Hamilton should have had been penalised in Malaysia and in China. I agree, it has become way to leient…..

      1. By the way, before anyone accuses me of being Hamilton’s biggest fan, I believe he should have been penalised in Malaysia. I’m a fan of Alonso.

    3. After the abundance of superfluous and wrong penalties given in the last couple of seasons, i think it is good to show, that the Stewarding is not there to punish any racing on track.

      I think it is important, that the stewards follow up on previous reprimands and warnings, though to make it clear where the limit is.
      Vettel and Hamilton were very close to the limit in China. Next time somebody does something similar, there should be an immediate penalty.
      I also expect Lewis to get a penalty rather sooner than later, as this was allready his 3rd reprimand/warning this season. If he does not start behaving, slap his wrists.

      1. I can only think of two reprimands for Hamilton so far this season, weaving in Malaysia and dangerous driving in the pit lane in China, what was the third one?

        1. You’r right, there were only 2, my mistake :-( . The argument stands though.

    4. have you read martins brundle opinion.i think he is tottally right penaltys should have been applied

      1. Bigbadderboom
        24th April 2010, 12:28

        With all due respect to Martin Brundle, he doesn’t always seem to know his own mind and often the only thing consistant about his opinions are their inconsistancy. I like Martin and I like his grid walks and his attitude, but his politics and interpretations change with the wind.

    5. why punish webber? that’s what’s called a racing incident! it’s just racing!

      1. If anybody talks about the China incident between Hamilton & Vettel in the pits then I think both of them needs to be penalized for their action, I was surprised that they didn’t but I wanted not to be given because it was very entertaining.

        Webber’s move in Australia was an racing incident, & I was delighted that they didn’t gave any penalty to Vettel in Malaysia that shows the maturity of the steward.

        So far so good.

        1. I don’t see a point why Vettel should be penalised, he came to pit changed his tyres and went out he didn’t cross any white lines so he was ok.Saying that he was pushing Hamilton, Hamilton shouldn’t be there in a first place!!.It was Hamilton who had a wheelspin therefore ended side by side with Vettel so he is the one that should ease off…

  2. I believe they have improved, I have no bitter taste in my mouth. Non of this change results after the race. On the question as to whether they are too soft, I’m unsure. I’m just glad that the action takes place on the track on not in the stewards hut.

  3. what I don’t understand is why you should get a reprimand or a penalty for a contact when you’re trying to overtake; we can’t complain then if there aren’t overtakes…

  4. What now becomes important is how you can issue a penalty after several reprimands. I think that could cause more trouble for the stewards than an aggressive stance in the first place. If for example Vettel or Hamilton are given similar punishments in the next few races when do the stewards/FIA say they now receive a grid penalty. If this was to happen we would have Vettel on two and Hamilton on the same only he would also be carrying a Black and white warning (I think the last time I saw this was in the late 80’s. Please correct me if I’m wrong). I want races to be decided on the track but I don’t want to see drivers constantly on the receiving end of warnings. This is not a dig at any particular driver and I know many will think it is but to be involved in 50% of the races under scrutiny is unusual.

    1. So your saying reprimands should be grouped together into a ‘three strikes and your out’ type system, even if they are for completely different offences?

      I would think the reprimands are specific, and a warning that if you do the same thing again you will receive a penalty. We will have to wait to see if anyone repeats the same offence to know for sure though.

      1. Not what I said but in football terms you can’t get 4 yellow cards for different offences and not be punished by a red. What is the point of reprimanding a driver x amount of times if there is no penalty. This is not about Hamilton it is about the sport. We could have a situation where a driver takes another out (racing incident) weaves erratically (breaking the tow) driving out with the pit lane, brake testing another driver, blocks someone in practice etc. The point is not who did it but what do you do about it.

        1. yup, this is the problem with reprimands, where is the line drawn? Can a drive do these things in the last couple of races of a season knowing that they have a couple of reprimands left in their season’s “reprimand budget”.

          1. The problem here is that if I can get away with 3 things I will do so won’t I?

          2. Good Idea! Maybe we could give them a points budget for offences, like you get in several countries like Germany and others. It is additional to taking fines and penalties though.

            I do think the Steward should and will take into account previous behaviour when judgin an incident.
            A driver who already had several reprimands and then commits something worse, or just does not stop doing questionalble things, should be punished more harsh than a first offender.

    2. Agreed. I see the ambiguity of the “reprimand” as the biggest problem at the moment. There should be some clear rule that says either that if drivers repeat these moves again, they will be penalized, or maybe alternately that if they receive x number of reprimands they’ll be given a 5 place grid penalty. I think there needs to be some kind of correlation between reprimands and possible punishment with repeated reprimands. Of course then the question becomes if the reprimands have to be for the same offense to warrant punishment, or if just repeated reprimands in general warrant punishment. I think there will always be grey areas, and Keith is right that they are certainly headed in the right direction, I just wish there were less ambiguity about reprimands. What do they really mean?

      1. I agree on this. Repeated reprimands should have some kind of penalty. If not, it doesn’t mean anything.

        On the other hand, much clever stewarding process this season than previous ones.

        Another “+” in Jean Tod way of managing FIA.

    3. The other problem with Reprimands is that it makes other drivers feel (quite rightly so, I might add) that they will not be punished for doing something similar later in the year. If one driver races another through the pit lane at Spain and they are both penalised, one has to ask why? Is it somehow worse because they did it one race later? The stewards have essentially boxed themselves into only giving a reprimand for the first time any driver does this, or they are being blatantly unfair.

  5. A step forward? Vettel tries to kill Hamilton and mechanics and gets a reprimand?

    1. I think that’s a touch extreme as Hamilton could have backed off if he had wanted…

      1. Agreed. It’s abit like Jarno Trulli and Sutil’s collision last season in Brazil.

        Trulli was angry that Sutil didn’t let him onto the track, but all Trulli had to do was back off and tuck in behind if he really wanted to.

        It’s the ego of the drivers and the race mentality, they don’t want to give up that position.

      2. And Vettel could have given him room too. Hamilton is at fault, but Vettel made it worse.

        1. Both of them is to blame for the incident.

  6. I guess the black and white flag to Hamilton meant nothing otherwise he should have got a penalty after the pit incident? Or does it not apply because 1) its a different sort of bad driving compared with the weaving 2) it was not in the same race or 3) the black and white flag is not the same as a reprimand so he was not on a ‘watchlist’. If that is the case does that mean that everyone is allowed to do one type of dodgy move, per race, and allowed to get away with it ? (sorry i mean getting a black white flag or a reprimand) Or does that mean that the first person to try gets away with it, and subsequently being reprimanded and the law laid down that everybody else who tries will be penalized? I think not penalizing Webber for a racing incident, or Vettel when he clearly slowed is good judgment. However, letting people get away, if even the first time, with questionable moves certainly raises questions.

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      21st April 2010, 20:27

      Black and White flag is different from a reprimand and it was also a different type of bad driving

      1. Yup and that sets a bad precedent because these decisions imply that every driver is allowed to do one of each type of bad driving once without consequence. God bless the mechanics and spectators.

      2. And I hope they stay different. As it is, there’s a warning, official warning, and punishment. If you didn’t have the first, then you’d have to give strong warnings for minor offences, or let them go unpunished.

        Let’s take Hamilton and Webber at Monza ’08 for an example. That’s a black-and-white flag incident to me, where a driver takes racing a little too far.

        Hamilton (again) and Raikkonen at Spa ’08 would be a reprimand penalty to me. Common sense would tell you that Hamilton made a clear effort to give the place back, and won it again because Raikkonen was in a slower car and practically brake-testing Hamilton into La Source. Still, it was a marginal call and Hamilton could have done more to make sure he was following the rules – rather like Sunday’s incident, hence a reprimand.

        Clear penalties would be like Schumacher cutting the chicane in Hungary in 2006, and not giving the place back (for which he went unpunished).

        1. Trouble is if they know its a warning for the first offence, that’s an invitation or a get out of jail free card. They WILL use it. Some moves should have zero tolerance (both Vettel and Hamilton in pitlane..). See how Hamilton is a central theme in your cases here? But I do agree that at Spa he was hard done by.

          1. Hamilton is as much a central theme because he’s the driver I follow the most. I didn’t remember Vettel pushing Alonso in the pit-lane in 2008 until someone mentioned it on here, for instance. of course Hamilton is involved more in these kinds of things, but they may owe a lot simply to Spa 2008 being so controversial in its implications and the consequences rippling down to Australia 2009 (which is no excuse, of course).

            I don’t agree it acts as a get-out-of-jail free card, precisely because the lesser punishments are meant to be for less offensive transgressions, which are characterised by being in the heat of the moment; it’s not like you get a flag for smashing into someone on purpose.

            And if reprimands are made to be cumulative, then there’s very little danger of drivers deliberately hoping to get away with a lesser punishment.

  7. Stewarding certainly seems to have improved, but we do have to see how the issue of reprimands go. Are all drivers a) allowed one reprimand, and then a penalty for doing it again, or b) is a reprimand for one driver a warning to all? I hope it’s the latter, and more to that there’s some kind of clarification from Todt, something like “I would like to see the stewards to take this stance A/B on the issue…”

    I say this because although we’ve had an outbreak of common sense and looking at the context of the incident rather than the letter of the law (though it was Charlie Whiting who ruled over the Hamilton weaving episode), it would be nice to go one further and have a pre-emptive, rather than ad hoc clarification of the kind we’ve had over the past few years, which have been open to accusations of bias (e.g. the “wait one more corner” rule for cutting a corner and overtaking, which upheld a decision made previously, but which if known before would have meant the incident itself would never have occurred!)

    1. I agree, and further to the point of being proactive and preemptive with rulings, I also think that it would behoove the stewards to issue rulings during the race rather than waiting until afterwards to investigate. I realize that in some cases, such as the Vettel/Hamilton pitlane incident, they want to speak with both drivers and hear everyone’s story before being too rash and issuing a penalty without understanding everyone’s position. That said however, I prefer drive through penalties to grid penalties, which obviously must then be ruled on before the end of the race. Also, the faster a penalty is issued the less room there will be for argument over bias.

  8. It has been better this year. About Hamilton’s black/white flag, I have to say that the problem there is that it was first time I have seen than while watching F1. On the old season reviews I have seen it once, but in general it’s very uncommon sight. The place where it could easily shown is missing apexes, I don’t mean complete chicane-cutting but the situations where you have outer wheels on kerb and inner wheels outside the track.

    Regarding drivers, it’s almost impossible to find drivers who aren’t “biased” if you look their former teams. Then you can look nationalities and so on.

  9. i think this year stewarding improved a lot. but stewards should consider drivers with a same types of reprimands to get penalties the 2nd time to avoid abuse. reprimands should be a warning not to do it again otherwise you’ll get a penalty. this is for avoidable incident like vettel/hamilton behavior on china pitlane. if they behave again in any race, the’ll both get a penalty. but i hope safety should not be compromised. to be fair, i think hamilton/vettel will not behave the same if there’s someone standing or there’s car pit in progress.

    1. Yes, but as Icthyes pointed out above, and Burt below, shouldn’t these reprimands be a warning to all drivers? Surely if Alonso and Webber (just as a hypothetical) behaved in a similar way to Vettel and Hamilton in a pitlane incident, they should understand from the Vettel/Hamilton reprimand that this behavior is not acceptable.

      1. There was a clarification to the weaving rule after Malaysia, I guess this will be the same deal.

  10. I’m happy with the decisions so far. If a reprimand is also a warning / yellow card to the whole field then everyone understands there will be a penalty if it happens again. No excuses next time.

    Luckily for McLaren, Brundle wasn’t steward this weekend, he would have given both drivers penalties.

    1. And probably to Button too!

      1. It’s funny, people have accused Wurz of not giving Button a penalty because Wurz used to drive for McLaren. I don’t for a second beleive that is the case, as he has driven for Williams, Honda and Brawn since so any association he has with McLaren is long in the past. Personally, I think it would be better to apply scrunity to the fact that Wurz has a very recent association with Button at Honda/Brawn – and I know the two of them got along very well while they were team mates there. And for all I know, they may still catch up for a beer every friday.

        Now, I am not suggesting for a second that Wurz based his decision on his past/present association with the driver involved. I think Wurz has a lot more integrity than that. I just thought it was interesting that some peopl jumped on the McLaren bias bandwagon, using an old, out of date association to support their assertions, when a far more recent & pertinent one was sitting right under their nose, so to speak.

        And the fact remains that Button didn’t get penalty, when many (myself included) think he should have. So draw from that what you will :)

        1. I think people should remember that the professional driver is not in charge of the panel of stewards, and nobody has said that they have a casting vote in decisions made by the stewards. So what if Wurz is or isn’t friends with Button? If the rest of the panel want to punish him and Wurz just says that they shouldn’t, but has no good reason, then there is no reason to expect the others to go along with it.

          The reprimands given out are made public, so there is no excuse from other drivers to say that they were unaware certain actions are not acceptable.

          Can everyone stop assuming that their least favourite driver is going to benefit from this change and wait until the end of the season before declaring how bad it is?

          1. Can everyone stop assuming that their least favourite driver is going to benefit from this change and wait until the end of the season before declaring how bad it is?

            Hear, hear!

          2. Actually Rob, Button is not my least favourite driver – far from it. And I wasn’t suggesting for a minute that I have any criticsm of the stewarding process this year – if you look back through my other posts I have been quite vocal about being in favour it. I was merely pointing out a potential issue which may raise questions about bias, that no one else appeared to have noticed.

  11. The stewarding in the past few years has been a huge source of frustration, and it has completely ruined some races for me – absolutely ridiculous for a top-level sport like F1.

    This year so far, I applaud the injection of some “common sense” into the sport. Well done.

  12. please add dangerous button driving when 2nd SC was out.
    this was extremely stupid and should be penalised.

    1. Please tell sunday driving grannies this, I wouldn’t have to tootle around at 40 in a 60 limit then :).

      Have you seen the onboard looking back from Button’s car by the way? It looks a lot less dramatic from that angle.

    2. After the safety car leaves the track, the lead car dictates the pace. Button did. No problem there.

      1. I don’t think the rules actually say that the lead car dictates the pace. It’s just the result of no one being allowed to overtake.
        It’s not allowed to slow down too much though so it could be argued that Button did wrong.

        1. See that’s the problem. People “think” instead of “know”. Would it kill ya to actually check the rules?

          At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.

    3. it was stupid, but i seriously think the camera angle exzaggerated the closeness of the packed up cars.

    4. Agreed!!

      Button slowed down so much that Hamilton had to go off-track and lose positions.

      And when he charged back to regain his old place, Webber unfortunately had to go off-track and lose positions at the final corner.

      That incident was totally ignored, not even a reprimand being given to Button or Hamilton.

      The lead car dictates pace fine, but if it forces other cars to go off-track just before the restart, dirty tactics I say

  13. We have yet to see this done but I’m under the impression that reprimand means establishing a precedent – it hasn’t been clear before but now we are issuing a reprimand, now every driver knows that is not to be done and will be penalized for it.

    Similar example may be Spa 2008 controversy – after Hamilton was punished on the next race there were several corner cutting and drivers knew they have to wait for one more corner before attempting overtake again.

    Also, I don’t see reprimands as a yellow card so that driver will get penalty if he accumulates several of them.

    I still think Button should have gotten a penalty for slowing down too much during safety car period as that area is clearer in the rules. And due to dangers of it I don’t think it would be unfair to punish Hamilton and Vettel for dangerous behaviour in pitlane – Hamilton almost ran over a pit crew at 100 km/h, he barely regained control of the car…

  14. Hamilton should have gotten something for the dangerous pit entry driving, same goes for Alonso. U can never cross the white line!!

    1. there is a difference between the pit entry and the pit lane. What both of them did was perfectly ok.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        21st April 2010, 20:28

        No, what Alonso did was fine, Hamilton almost went backwards on the track

      2. No it was not “perfectly ok”


        4. Entrance to the pit lane
        a) The section of track leading to the pit lane shall be referred to
        as the “pit entry”.
        b) During competition access to the pit lane is allowed only
        through the pit entry.
        c) Any driver intending to leave the track or to enter the pit lane
        should make sure that it is safe to do so.
        d) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the
        Stewards of the Meeting), the crossing, in any direction, of the
        line separating the pit entry and the track is prohibited.
        e) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the
        Stewards of the Meeting), any line painted on the track at the
        pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pits from
        those on the track must not be crossed by any part of a car
        leaving the pits.

        1. Way to own goal.

          As I read it there it seems that section d) is stating that you may not cross the line between normal track and pitlane except under extraordinary circumstances. As in if you’re not pitting you cannot cross in to the pit lane.

          Both drivers were pitting, thus there was no issue.

        2. don’t say it too loud. We are having fun for a change. Let the steward look the other way. Let the guys race.

  15. was kimi penalised for banging into sutil in monaco?
    was hamilton penalised for banging into kimi in the pit lane?
    who should webber be penalised? i think it was purely a racing incident!

    1. sorry, it sould be “why should webber be penalised?”

    2. Hamilton did get a penalty yes. He was put 10 places back for the next race.

      Was Vettel punished when he collided with Kubica in Australia 2009? Yep he was.

      So yes when drivers are overly aggressive in defending or taking positions they got punished.

      Kimi crashing into Sutil is completely different. He lost the car miles before he hit Sutil.

      A comparable accident would be Liuzzi losing his car at the start of the last race. No penalty.

      If we were still under the same regime of punishing everything that’s out of the ordinary, then yes Webber would have received a 10 place penalty.

      Luckily we are nog longer under the tiranny of Alan Donnely so Webber crashing into Hamilton goes without penalty (apart from eternal shame).

    3. Which incident are you referring to for Hamilton banging into Kimi in the pit lane? I can only remember Canada 2008 and Hamilton was punished for that, rightly in my opinion.

      I agree with you that Webber shouldn’t have been punished for Australia this year.

  16. Alonso should have been given a reprimand too for his “overtake” of Massa.

    1. If by ‘Reprimand’ you mean that he should have been given a ‘high five’ and a ‘Thumbs up’ then I completely agree. ;)

      1. i agree. Don’t give any wrong ideas to the stewards. Didn’t we want to encourage overtaking. And then some people want to punish them for doing it. I don’t understand anything.

    2. Jarred Walmsley
      21st April 2010, 20:29

      Why?, it was a perfectly legal manuevure, it’s Massa’s fault for not being aware enough

    3. no, massa was slow out of the hairpin, so alonso’s not going to slow down and wait for massa is he?

      1. Besides, Alonso has had to sit behind Massa for the last few races staring at his rear diffuser, unable to pass because of varying reasons. And look what happened once he got past – remind me again of how far down the order Massa finished? I don’t blame Alonso for a second for seizing the opportunity to pass when it presented itself to him.

  17. Im really happy with the new approach, the drivers now know not to do similar things again, at least drivers are fee to race and show determinaton not like in the past. Well done stewards i say.

  18. I’m of the opinion that some of the decisions taken this year have been a bit too lenient.

    Let’s assume that the black and white flag for Hamilton weaving in front of Petrov was an appropriate reaction. Even if that were the case, surely the Chinese GP was ample evidence that he has not “learned his lesson” about dangerous driving? The pit incident with Vettel we have talked about, but Hamilton also drove across the gravel, effectively the wrong way around the track, to enter the pits during that race. We have heard plenty about how useless the outboard mirrors in F1 are – so how did Hamilton know no one was coming up the pit lane? What if they had been? It was a dangerous move and, placed in the context of his indiscretions in Malaysia, should have been punished.

    As for Button, I can see the argument that he didn’t drive erratically. But, as we know, once the SC lights are switched off, the leading driver “becomes the safety car” and has the responsibility of leading the field round. When someone has to take avoiding action by leaving the track (as Hamilton had to), I would suggest that the leader isn’t doing his job properly. Maybe a punishment would have been too severe, but a warning (and an indication to everyone else that repeat behaviour would be punished) would have been nice. As it was, that incident wasn’t even investigated.

    On Wurz, I’m willing to accept that he was fair and balanced in his advice to the stewards. But what if, for example, Jean Alesi was in his position and the stewards were subsequently seen to be lenient on Ferrari? We’d never hear the end of it.

    1. I think Alesi would be the least reason for anyone to be crying bias.

      And of course, your argument that “Lewis hasn’t learned his lesson” rests upon the assumption that he was wholly to blame for what happened in China. Certainly Vettel was more in control of the situation, and if Hamilton had slowed, with his wheels overlapping Vettel’s as they were, and caused a crash, you would be raving about that.

      Given that Vettel did exactly the same to Alonso two years ago, why are you not saying the same of Vettel, who clearly has learned his lesson less than Hamilton in this respect?

      With the Button “incident”, one could easily argue it was Rosberg’s fault for not paying enough attention. After all, Button slowed; it was Rosberg who braked hard. And as Button was the lead driver, Rosberg had to follow his pace, so long as Button did nothing erratic, which he didn’t.

      Also, unless a driver is clearly going in the opposite direction of the track, direction changes like Hamilton’s are legal. Given that he was heading towards the pit-lane, he was even technically going in the right direction, re-joining the track so to speak; it just so happens that the direction of the main track and the pit-lane entrance differ by 90 degrees in China. How could he be sure there was no-one coming? I’m sure Hamilton wouldn’t have wanted to end his race in a crash. Given the direction he was travelling, he would have been able to see any other cars in his line of vision anyway.

      So that’s the other side of the argument, and if I’m glad the stewards took it it’s more to do with the fact it’s less cut-and-dried than the other than because of who’s involved, before that becomes an issue.

    2. Hamilton was given a warning for weaving in Malaysia and as far as I know he didn’t weave in China so he did learn his lesson.

      As has been pointed out Vettel went wheel to wheel with Alonso in 2008 in the pit lane so drivers probably thought that was okay.

      As for Hamilton going across the gravel considering the track conditions the stewards may have decided to give drivers some leeway, and by the way McLaren did not use outboard mirrors in China.

  19. people new to f1 this year will be wondering “what is all the fuss about these stewards, they see to be running on common sense” well it was not always this way and let me tell you that the ammount of sunday afternoons they have bloody runined over the past few years would firmly make you turn over and watch hours of a repeated manchester soap……lastly welcome to f1 and thank you common sense.

  20. We should have yellow and red cards, first a Reprimand, repetition of a violation of the rules gets you a drive through, and a third one a dnf !
    Then guys would be really nice to each other!

    1. be we don’t want them to be nice to each other. We want them to race hard, with a knife between their teeth. We are having fun now, please don’t change anything.

  21. David Johnson
    21st April 2010, 21:35

    Love the new stewarding !! I want to see hard and fair racing…I’d watch rallying if I wished to watch fast time trialling…we get overtaking and we start moaning about it….crazy… of course reprimands for dangerous driving…but let them race !!! If we had nanny state stewarding Rosberg would have surely been penalised for double move preventing Hamiliton passing…but thankfully he got to show his jangle bells…and that’s how it should be.

    1. Naa – the Rosberg move looked ok to me as you are allowed to defend(move)once, and then are allowed to move back toward the racing line in order to take the corner.

      The Massa incident in Aus was similar, altho I think we cut to the onboard as Massa was moving back to take the racing line into the left hander which made it look worse.

      Effectively you are allowed 2 moves – once to defend and another to take the racing line thru the corner.

      I think the stewards got it spot on this last weekend, but do wonder what these reprimands will mean for the rest of the season.

      Also, while I think Lewis is hugely entertaining, altho I’m not a fan – why does he keep putting himself in these situations? Makes good viewing tho.

      1. Hmmm – just watched the Vettel/Hamilton incident again. Martin Brundle has a point, it was dangerous and does set a precedent. Could have warrented a penalty for both.

        1. I don’t think what Vettel did was more dangerous than the way Schumacher pushed Hamilton off the track on the “straight”.

  22. Massa got a reprimand for driving next to Sutil in Valencia 2008. But then Massa came dangerously close to the Safety car at the end of the pitlane.

    So if anything, these reprimands mean nothing.

    On the other hand Vettel got no reprimand and no penalty for driving side by side with Alonso in the fastlane during the German 2008 GP.

    So, I don’t think Hamilton got his reprimand for driving side by side with Vettel. The explanation that Autosport gave after talking to the stewards was that Hamilton got his penalty for going too much sideways with a competitor close on one side and a crew on the other side of him. That makes much more sense.

    Besides, if they want something penalized, they need to change the rules. Preferably publicly and ahead of the race and not afterwards like in Spa ’08.

    What I don’t understand is how Vettel got away with holding up the field behind the safety car for a good 10 seconds.

    People complain about Button slowing down a little, but Vettel clearly violating the 10 car lengths rule draws no complaints?

  23. Just like to know what any of you would have done if you are in the place of Hamilton in the car? Your team releases you, you are racing other drivers, you came into the pits infront of Vettel and generally expect to be ahead of him when they realease you, dont know where Vettel is as his box is behind Mclarens, and when you join you find yourself side by side, wheels skewed with the Vetel’s Red Bull, cannot pull the your car towards other pits as they are for other teams, cannot slow down either as you are skewed? So WHAT would you do? Remember you are also racing at the same time!

  24. i don’t think any of the penalties so far have been coming from the stewards. herbert said the weaving penalty came from charlie, and obviously so did the jump start. if these reprimands are indeed “do it again and get a proper penalty” then i think that’s a good call.

    the fia has swung from too harsh to too soft, and either way they can’t win as long as people are talking about the officials and not the sport. jean todt’s approval rating is strong, although i can’t tell you just what he’s done.

  25. As a longstanding F1 fan I welcome this approach.

    I find the over-regulation of pit situations particularly frustrating, especially the unsafe release rule. Cars are travelling at 80 km/h so there is no risk to the drivers. OK there is some danger to the mechanics but… they can also get hit by their own driver coming into the pits, were exposed to fires for many years, etc., so it’s acceptable risk. Finally I struggle to see how what Alonso or Hamilton did on the pit lane entrance can be qualified as unreasonably dangerous. An F1 race needs sources of excitement, and over-regulating things can just kill those. Just look at how exciting pit stops are in Indycars. Yes, they sometimes crash against one another but that’s just racing.

  26. they are doing a good job now. Let the boys race.

  27. I think the step of involving experienced (former) racing drivers in the decision-making process is a good decision. One of the problems of race stewarding under the old conditions was the lack of actual hands-on racing experience in judging an incident.

    However, another important thing about stewarding in the (recent) past were the kinds of inconsistencies that arose from different trios at work at different events. In my opinion, involving a racing driver as the fourth man hasn’t eliminated the potential for this kind of stuff. It remains to be seen whether they manage to come up with the same response to the same behaviour or “type” of incident over time.

    I’m weary when it comes to the “reprimands” they’ve handed out a couple of times now, actually, because there seems to be no predictable limit in place for that. Especially in terms of the pitlane shuffle between Hamilton and Vettel, I personally thought it was too soft a decision. That kind of driving in a safety area like the pit lane doesn’t only become dangerous if you were to actually do it a second time.

    Optimally, I would favour a much tighter and more detailed definition of what kinds of penalties will follow this and that behaviour on the track – opposite to the traditional and still current way of every penalty for an incident being, essentially, at the stewards’ discretion.

  28. I’m more concerned with the Pit entry. Vettel was first in the entrance to the pit lane (the place the pit entry starts going stright on from the last corner), Hamilton came up on his left had side and took the inside corner for position, similar to what Alonso did to Massa. Why when you leave the pits can you not go over the unbroken line but when you enter the pits it doesn’t matter, why? Surley the first car that enters the pit lane is first and the other drivers have to yield.

    Why wasn’t Button reprimanded for slowing too much at the end of the long straight when the saefty car returned to the pits and turning the second last conrer into a car park – we had several rows 3-4 cars wide, how can you ensure you keep your position across the start finish line?

    And from that why wasn’t Vettel reprimanded for pushing Hamilton into Webber resulting in Webber losing a handful of positions?

    1. “Vettel was first in the entrance to the pit lane (the place the pit entry starts going stright on from the last corner), Hamilton came up on his left had side and took the inside corner for position”

      Vettel was trying to overtake Hamilton, but Hamilton was still in front. Hamilton did brake a bit more before they entered the pit entry lane though.

      Still, at the braking point Hamilton was ahead. So he had the right to the race line.

  29. Rubbish Dave
    22nd April 2010, 1:14

    I’m generally happy with the stewarding. It’s a case of if something off happens, then all drivers are given a warning and a new understanding of a rule is essentially put in by reprimands and in the drivers briefing rather than basically making up a rule and acting on it.

    As I’ve pointed out, none of what happened in China is without precendent for it not being punished. So 1st change the rule, then punish transgressions. Not the other way round. That’s what they got wrong in Spa 2008.

    Buttons slowing down had shades of Hamilton in fuji 2007, so while I may have thought what he did was remarkably stupid, it’d be wrong to punish him. My (possibly misinformed) understanding is that the stewards had words with him afterwards, and the drivers will be aware that they need to keep a reasonable pace under the safety car in future.

    1. I guess that is fair enough if the stewards spoke with Button afterwards – although the rule re bunching up behind the SC is a pretty hard & fast rule.

      On the whole, I am pretty happy with the stewarding this year. I much prefer that they let the guys race, and only punish clear infractions of the rules, overt moves, dangerous or deliberate moves, or repeat offenders. And if no race results are altered after the fact (which is my pet hate), I imagine I’ll remain fairly satisfied with the level of Stewarding over the season.

  30. The whole point of giving reprimand is to warn drivers not to commit THE SAME mistakes…hence the drivers can commit different mistakes and get away…that aspect should be taken care of…

  31. There were 3 incidents that were not even looked at that I thought warranted penalties on the weekend – 2 of Hamilton’s pit entries and 1 of Alonso’s.
    When Hamilton pitted for inters he had driven PAST the pit lane and had to cut back across the run off area. He caught the edge of the gravel trap, but had this been 10 years ago he would have got beached trying the same stunt. Thats wortha look at, even if not a drive through.

    Alonso and Hamilton both overtook outside of the circuit (outside of the white lines on the pit entrance). And should have had to give the positions back, or face a penalty.

    1. Your right plushpile, crossing the line seperating the pit entry and the track in any direction is prohibited by APPENDIX L TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPORTING CODE Chapter IV 4.d. See my reply to Rampante on the previous page.

    2. I don’t have any problem with how Alonso overtook Massa, but Hamilton was already ahead of Vettel and it was Vettel who was attempting an overtake entering the pits not Hamilton.

      Regarding Hamilton’s first pit stop given the track conditions the stewards may have been more lenient than usual when he went across the gravel. Genuine question, has anyone else being penalised for entering the pits like that?

  32. I agree with the stewarding 100% too to date, but I would now concentrate on repeat behaviours both of the individuals & copycats – how many reprimands on different “iffy” rules for one driver? What happens to a copy cat if each rule isn’t tightened (consistent reprimand or inconsistent penalty)?

    And as for the pit incidents where entry lanes (and exits in Kubica’s case) aren’t built for racing and an incident could red flag an event or competing side by side down the fast lane where crews are obviously put in increased and unnecessary danger? Well are the precedents enough to see an end to this? Is there some argument that these practices could be sustained on a “who dares wins basis”?

    Obviously drivers have been studying rule loopholes to get around being less able to pass on track, the list could be endless and it could all end in tears.

  33. Let them race! That’s it! May the best man win!

  34. I don’t agree with this idea of adding up reprimands, Each incident should be reviewed ignoring the drivers past actions, otherwise favouritism is an inevitable argument. (BTW I’m not a Hamilton fan.)

    If you base treatment on what has happened in the passed, you may end you next race with a situation of Schumacher taking a shortcut, and Hamilton following him, and only Hamilton getting penalised with a drive though whereas Schumacher would get a reprimand. (then we would argue)

    Pit lane incidents should have zero tolerance, or less than that, and the view from the drivers should be, don’t do it. Safety in the pit lane or for spectators is greater than the place they are contesting. or rather, that’s how it should be.

    These driver stewards also seem to have very little say, I mean, they have no vote, and I’d be interested if anyone had evidence to suggest they had actually made an impact so far.

    I suspect the stewards new laxness has more to do with last years criticisms.

    1. Your argument does not make a lot of sense. Not giving position back after gaining one by going through a chicane is punished with a drivetrhough. That would be for both drivers, but only when they get in front of another driver goin on track.

      The “stacking” of reprimands should work however as a factor in deciding actions of drivers.
      I.e. a driver getting allready 3-4 reprimands for his drivering might be punished just a little bit earlier and harsher than another, because he has shown, that he is a hard learner.
      The same principle is generally applied in normal law and i think rightly so.

      You are right though, that unsafe driving in the pit lane could have serious consequences. If there would have been other cars in, i suppose the Stewards would have punished Lewis and Seb for dangerous driving.

  35. Let’s hope the ex-driver stewards should not be lenient to the drivers and to their former teams.

  36. I don’t think the race stewards have become more lenient. I think the ex-F1 drivers are providing valuable inputs in the races we’ve seen this year. I thought the race stewards made the right calls on the incidents we saw during the Shanghai race. The weather, hence visibility, was definitely a factor.

    All the drivers were doing their utmost to stay out of trouble throughout the race and I think the race stewards appreciated the great job everyone did on the track and in the pitlane.

    I personally thought the Hamilton-Vettel incident in the pit was not bad enough to warrant any punishment. Visibility was an issue. Also, there is no black-and-white rule of running side by side on the pitlane (though it should be avoided). Indycars do it sometimes.

    I personally think the most dangerous incident was at the end of the final safety car stint. Button should not have slowed right down during the final safety car period. His action nearly caused a pile-up. Hamilton had to go onto the grass to avoid hitting someone. Vettel lost out because Webber squeezed Hamilton to the right towards Vettel and he had nowhere to go and Vettel had to go off-track.

    It was a great race.

  37. Mike, I would not advocate former reprimands being used as any basis in the decision as to whether a current breach or indiscretion has been committed ….

    but it must be used in sentencing otherwise reprimands cannot be effective.

    So if he is up for another reprimand and he has had them before he should be penalised, and that should at a certain point take into account anything he has chosen to ignore from previous reprimands. That would include breach shopping at another end of the rulebook ore in other words you can’t just keep saying that every indiscretion is an island on each individual rule.

    I would say Hamilton is already dancing on that edge now.

    Evenso (and being a Webber supporter) I would imagine that the getting aero unloaded excuse would not wash for him either even though he is 1 reprimand to Hamilton’s 2 so such offences should still be judged relatively to past misdemenours.

    Otherwise I agree.

    1. “I would not advocate former reprimands being used as any basis in the decision as to whether a current breach or indiscretion has been committed ….

      but it must be used in sentencing otherwise reprimands cannot be effective.”

      Very well said.
      I don’t think I explained what I meant well, and it was mostly and over reaction (on my part) of some things others had said. ^^

  38. AB you’ve got your Vettel’s and Webbers back the front. No doubt Hamilton went wheels into Webber for advantage because he could have lifted and wasn’t banging wheels with Vettel near the point of impact. Vettel’s excuse was Button’s surprise, but that was same as the Hamilton’s surprise pulled on 3rd placed Vettel in Japan 2 years ago so he maybe needs to be more alert.

    Button should have at least been reprimanded because it was dangerous brake testing that is stupid just ahead of release when everyone is squeezing up.

    For Hamilton I reckon it was close but being a neat play on the safety car release rule and into the fuzzy issue of when wheel banging remains OK in free racing he gets away with it (as long as he remembers it can come back too).

  39. Jonesracing82
    22nd April 2010, 8:23

    i think it’s much better, we all want more overtaking etc and not giving a penalty for a driver having a go and making an error, and taking the other guy out is much better! the way it’s been in the past, it wasnt worth even attempting a move. a big thumbs up!
    P.S so long as it stays consistant there can;t be any complaints…

  40. I am so pleased with the stewarding this year. Alonso’s jump start was the only obvious inexcusable infringement of the rules and was thus rightly punished. All the others were questionable in the heat of battle, and reprimands/warnings were definitely the right and sensible reactions.

    Unfortunately, whenever Lewis Hamilton is involved in one of these incidents, the racists and haters see red and will swell the comments with their unreasonable bile. It will ever be so.

    1. Indeed. I went back to look how people were fuming and crying about life threatening situations over Vettel’s side by side pitlane antics in the German 2008 GP. There is nothing. Basically only praise for Vettel that he outsmarted/outraced Alonso.


      There was actually one remark from verasaki that was incredibly on the mark:
      “ook at what happened to alonso on the way out of the pit. a really strict adherence to the rules book if hamilton were in his place might have cost a win. what actually are the rules about being forced over the blend line, anyway?”

  41. I feel Button should have been given atleast a reprimand for his driving under the safety car. Turning a blind eye to that incident is going too much on the lenient side, IMO.

    Button slowed down so much that Hamilton had to go off-track and lose positions.

    And when he charged back to regain his old place, Webber unfortunately had to go off-track and lose positions at the final corner.

    That incident was totally ignored, not even a reprimand being given to Button or Hamilton.

    The lead car dictates pace, fine, but if it forces other cars to go off-track just before the restart, dirty tactics I say

    1. Webber was pushed off by Hamilton going wide, who was pushed wide by Vettel.

      Why blame Hamilton for the incident?

      1. I blame Button for it, not Hamilton, didn’t you read my post?

        Button does not deserve a drive through or a grid penalty. But he does deserve he reprimand.

        1. Button was neither to blame

  42. I have to say I think the stewarding has improved a lot so far this season compared with recent years and hopefully the stewards will continue in a similar approach.

    The issue most seem to have is what exactly is a reprimand, a warning to that driver if he does that particular thing again he will be punished, a warning to that driver if he does anything naughty again he will be punished or a warning to all the drivers that if anyone makes that sort of move they will be punished.

    I believe Charlie Whiting made the decision on Hamilton weaving in Malaysia and then at the next race didn’t the drivers get together to clarify the rules and say if anyone does that sort of thing again they should be punished.

    I think when a reprimand is issued it should also come with a clarification as to what happens if that sort of incident occurs again.

    For example, personally I would like the rules changed or the stewards to come out and say that if drivers try to race in the pit lane, the section where the speed limit is in force, then they will be punished. Not a case where every driver gets a reprimand then a penalty the next time they do it.

    On the other hand you could have a reprimand be like a yellow card for that driver. So when the reprimand is issued the stewards will say if that driver does something similar in the next x number of races they will receive a penalty.

    Something I would like to see is if stewards decide that something deserves a penalty when it didn’t previously, they announce it before the race, for example when Hamilton was punished for forcing Raikkonen off the track at the 2008 Japanese GP I thought it was a normal first corner incident and I couldn’t remember when a first corner incident had been punished before.

    As for allegation of bias by the driver on the steward’s panel, everyone could be accused of bias, not just the former drivers, after all the FIA, Mosley and Donnelly have all been accused of a Ferrari bias.

    It is only more obvious with drivers because we know who they drove for and who they are friends or enemies with because they are in the public eye.

    We all like some teams/drivers more than others to a certain degree, but hopefully whoever is picked as a steward, be it a former driver or not, they will be able to put aside any bias and judge the incident in question on its own merits.

    By the way does anyone know if how stewards interview drivers has changed, because after what happened with Hamilton lying in Australia 2009 it seemed the stewards didn’t record the interview or get Hamilton to sign a statement of what happened.

  43. Yes, yes, yes. This is vastly better than before. Let the boys race, step in only when you really have to.

    We’ve become so conditioned to expecting penalties for every transgression, every vaguely borderline case, that it seems incongrous when drivers lean on each other and nothing happens. This is racing.

    We also complain bitterly when we see boring races without passing. One element of this is drivers who see only downsides to making a passing attempt, so much so that the points structure gets fiddled with to try to provide incentives to push, and Bernie wants a system where the WDC is he who wins the most races. Everyone agrees we want faster drivers to attempt the pass instead of sitting dutifully in a procession, but then when drivers dispute the same piece of road half of us still complain because the beneficiary doesn’t happen to be someone we like.

    I want to send a resounding message to the governing body. Of course there’s a line where somebody does something really unfair and you have to step in, but 2006-2008 was a carbunkle on the sport (actually much of the preceding decade or more were) and this is emphatically closer to what we want to see.

  44. I can not agree with this one Keith.
    Bringing professional drivers to the panel sounds like a great idea but the problem remains: uncertainty.
    We still don’t know why one issues are solved during the race and some others later on. We don’t know why some issues are not even mentioned (Button and the SC was really risky). Finaly, at this point no one knows what is the logic behind warnings and reprimends. Are they cumulative by driver? A general warning for all pilots?? The grey areas remain and this is certainly not good for F1.

  45. I think it’s pretty simple, the stewarding has become more consistant like we all wanted. regarding reprimands and penalties etc, i think the stewards are making decisions that they see fit at the time of the inncedent regardless of past behaviour, they’re keeping it simple, every driver and every team starts with a clean slate at the start of every race weekend, all behaviour that needs punishment i believe will be punished. Look on the bright side we’re getting the exciting racing we all wanted!

  46. This article should be called “a step forward in favoring Lewis Hamilton”.

    Reprimanding someone like him is anything but moving forward.

  47. I concur. So far I think the stewards have got it right…

  48. So we got three new decisions in Spain.

    – Alonso/Rosberg incident in qualifying: Ferrari fined 20000 dollars.

    – Buemi rejoined the track dangerously ahead of Trulli: drive through

    – Alguersuari chopped ahead of Chandhok: drive through

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