Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2012

Permanent stewards ‘would improve consistency’

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2012In the round-up: Ex-F1 driver and steward Johnny Herbert says permanent stewards could improve how F1 rules are implemented but isn’t sure if it’s feasible.


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Herbert backs F1 stewards (Sky)

“It is probably the best way. I’m not so sure that it is feasible with the situation they have at the moment. There may be ways around it but I’m not sure what they are.”

Petrov’s 2013 Chances Fading (RSport)

Petrov’s manager Oksana Kosachenko: “So far, we haven?t managed to find new sponsors. Where do journalists get this information from? I?m a journalist myself and I know very well how this can just pop into someone?s head.”

Mercedes a ‘long term risk’ for Hamilton (Autosport)

Jackie Stewart: “Whether it was Stirling Moss and [Juan Manuel] Fangio, whether it was [Rudolf] Caracciola and the other great drivers of the thirties, when Mercedes were in the sport they had to win. And if they don’t win, they get out.”

First time visits for new McLaren drivers (McLaren)

“This writer?s first recollection of such an event was the 1973 unveiling of the first Yardley McLaren M23. This took place at the team?s then-headquarters in Colnbrook, literally a few feet from the end of the runway of Heathrow airport. For those of us unable to hear what team principal Teddy Mayer was saying above the blast of Boeing 747 exhausts, the media representatives were each offered a ring-bound file containing what was considered to be relevant information”


Comment of the day

Can Heikki Kovalainen keep his place in F1 on merit? @Prisoner-Monkeys isn’t sure:

Heikki Kovalainen is a nice guy, but I don?t think he?s a particularly fast guy. At best, he would be a solid, reliable choice for a midfield team looking to bank regular points and beat their immediate rivals through consistency rather than outright speed.

As someone with six years? worth of experience in Formula 1, I can understand why Kovalainen resisted the idea of finding sponsors to secure a seat, primarily because once he did it, he would always have to do it unless he had a stunning season in 2013.

But at the same time, I don?t think he?s done enough to justify keeping his seat on merit alone. He needs sponsors to make up the difference.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Nick and KoolKieren!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

BMW Sauber launched their 2008 F1 car five years ago today. The F1.08 became their first car to win a race in the hands of Robert Kubica in Canada.

Today is also Narain Karthikeyan’s 36th birthday.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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  • 36 comments on “Permanent stewards ‘would improve consistency’”

    1. why not have a roster of stewards who have to pass FIA tests? It (almost) works for other sporting referees, such as those in football.

    2. If anything has become clear regarding Sir Stewart’s comments over the past few years, it’s this: the man clearly has something against Lewis Hamilton.

      1. I was sat listening to Sir Jackie Stewart yesterday at the Autosport stage where he made these comments. To me, it didn’t sound like he had anything at all against Lewis, just that he thought it was a risky move to jump to a team which might not be in F1 in 3 years time.

        1. I absolutely see Sir Js point but I don’t think LH would be without a drive if MB decided to pull out of racing again and no doubt his contract would ensure he was paid compensation.

          1. To be honest I’ve always found that Jackei Stewart has something to say about everyone. 1 of the best of all time but reminds me a bit of Nigel Mansell, always like to bring up “in my day”

    3. I think the drivers stewards are a good addition but agree with herbert its not likely to get some employed on a permanent basis. I don’t understand why we can’t have say 6 or 9 permanent stewards (not driver ones) who have to met a certain standard, and work it so we use the same stewards regularly, for example 3 each race. Then have 1 or 2 local stewards plus a driver steward. I think this will help with consistency. I don’t think anyone dislikes any specific stewards but are frustrated by the lack of consistency from race to race and season to season.

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        14th January 2013, 10:27

        I agree, but I expect it’s down to cost.

      2. With the FIA charging $1.8 +- million per race you would think they could afford to pay a full-time head steward.
        It seemed to me that JHs comments did not contradict JS.

      3. As you may know, the FIA is made up of member Nations and these are independent in their jurisdictions, therefore you would not want a member from say: Malta to steward races in Austin.

        Having said the above, I think the FIA brings a lot of transparency by not allowing only the national members to steward races. They do add other members like the famous Kenyan member ….oh wait where did he come from again? Djibouti ? … The guy involved in a scandal during Max’s presidency, I forgot his name. He serves as an example. And don’t forget the decision making process at FIA is democratic and democracy as we know, has its flaws.

    4. Petrov’s problems to find new sponsors could save Kovalainen’s F1 career.

      Maybe Petrov should skip 2013 season and concentrate on gaining new sponsors and then try to get a seat from Marussia for 2014 season?

      1. Petrov’s problems to find new sponsors could save Kovalainen’s F1 career.

        Caterham have made it known that they want a paying driver for the second seat. And according to Kossachenko, there are at least six drivers in contention for that seat. Heikki Kovalainen probably isn’t one of them, since he has made it know that he doesn’t want to find sponsors.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys Just last week Gascoyne said Caterham are doing “everything they can to keep Heikki”, but you’re right. In reality at least Luiz Razia and Bruno Senna are higher on Caterham’s wanted-list.

        2. It must be hard to find sponsors when finishing 10th. is an unlikely but hoped for result.

    5. You don’t get a same referee for every match in the season in football either.

        1. But you dont get 92+ races held at the same time.

          1. Also, F1 is quite a lot more complex than football to police I would say, so I am in favour of permanent stewards (as long as the team is big enough to handle all the stewards enquiries). And of course, there are many more football matches than F1 races!

    6. “It is probably the best way. I’m not so sure that it is feasible with the situation they have at the moment. There may be ways around it but I’m not sure what they are.”

      Wasn’t the whole point of introducing a rotating stewards’ roster and having a driver’s representative intended to improve the stewarding process in the first place? Alan Donnelly used to be one of the regular stewards, but there were always accusations that he was Max Mosley’s man first, and would use his position to help manipulate the political standings between teams by casting the decising vote on stewards’ rulings. It didn’t help that his wife worked for an agency that helped facilitate Virgin moving their sponsorship from Brawn to Manor, leading to more claims that Mosley was trying to interfere by favouring the teams he had selected. Donnelly isn’t on the stewards’ panel anymore, but he stands out as an example of how the system could be abused by the Powers That Be if the sport reverted to a permanent stewards’ panel.

      Personally, I think the best way forward would be to intoduce a semi-permanent steward: four stewards who each chair the panel at five separate races. The other two stewards operate on a rotating basis, plus one drivers’ representative (with no restrictions on when, where or how often they can work with the panel).

      1. Donnelly isn’t on the stewards’ panel anymore, but he stands out as an example of how the system could be abused by the Powers That Be if the sport reverted to a permanent stewards’ panel

        I agree with that @prisoner-monkeys, having different people rule should make the process better with independent looks at the facts.
        It also stresses the need for solid rules and a way of communicating previous rulings though to ensure a consistency of the results of the process. That is where I think the FIA should spend more effort. Educating the stewards, or maybe having them meet once or twice a year or something to get them to communicate about their reasoning (between themselves). What you propose could work therefore, as it would give us a team of people that might have a bigger awareness of the rules than we currently have. I do think though that you should leave the possibility to have one local at each panel. After all, they know (or should know at least) the track best.

      2. I agree. Formula One has a history of politics and big egos, so permanent stewards could potentially make things only worse.

        In my opinion, stewards make fairly good job these days. People tend to remember the bad rulings and not the countless times they’ve ruled well. Stewards, referees and umpires make mistakes in every sport, not just in Formula One.

        Permanent stewards doesn’t miraculously make stewarding 100% consistent and remove occasional misinterpretations of rules either. I study law and even surpreme courts tend to make decisions that are inconsistent when comparing to their previous decisions and/or peculiar interpretations of law. Humans tend to err.

      3. I see your point but the same could apply to Charlie Whiting who has even more power to frustrate or promote a team than the stewards do. For $36million a year we should expect the FIA to do what is right for F1 even if we are let down more often than we should be.

    7. I’m struggling with Jackie Stewart’s comments, and not for the first time He’s talking as though Hamilton is an investor in a company where he stands to lose his money if Mercedes stop trading. If Hamilton is as good as he thinks he is, should Mercedes choose to leave the sport he will have teams knocking his door down to get him signed up. Yes, there’s the risk that one of the big teams might not have a seat available due to existing contracts/personality clashes but I don’t see this as a massive risk in the grand scheme of things. Alonso may not be at Ferrari past his existing contract (given his age), McLaren have the most experienced driver on the grid in Button who probably has a couple more seasons in him and another driver in Perez who, i’m sorry, doesn’t have the inherent skill of a Hamilton, Alonso or Vettel; Webber will be gone from Red Bull next year with no-one that’s set the world alight ready to take his place and Vettel is eyeing up a move to Ferrari. In terms of young stars coming through, i’ve seen no-one impress me as much in the lower formulas as Hamilton did so if it came down to a hot young gun Vs Hamilton with another few years maturity it would be a no brainer.

      The risk as i see it for Hamilton isn’t that he’s left without a chair when the music stops; rather it’s that the next 3 years when he’s at the peak of his career are spent in an average car that’s incapable of delivering more world championships.

      1. I agree. I find it hard to see a Button-at-Honda/Brawn or Damon-to-Arrows kind of situation arising. Whilst his management get a lot of stick (mostly for not helping Hamilton as a person), I think they’d be on top of a situation like this, should it arise.

        1. Jackie’s failed to consider that, although Merc would likely only leave if they don’t win races, if that were the case this would be a scenario in which Lewis would also likely want to leave. It’s not as if he’d have to go down with the sinking ship, as others have pointed out. In short, the thing that would motivate Merc to leave the sport is the same thing that would motivate Lewis to find another team. I admire Lewis’ ballsy move, and can’t wait to see what he does with the Merc this year.

    8. I would have thought Petrov would be safe so I’m a little surprised by this. Looks to me like he’s lost his seat but I hope that’s to someone like Razia as opposed to a known quantity in Senna.

    9. Regarding the Jackie Stewart piece: he’s right thinking that Mercedes can pull out of the sport any minute. But his is Lewis Hamilton we’re talking about, probably one of the most respected drivers in the paddock. Whether he will not have a team depends more on how his results will be incomparison to his teammate at Mercedes: if Hamilton is constantly slower than Rosberg, then yes he has to fear for his future (and he will officially be J Villeneuve 2.0). If he keeps showing that he is one of the best drivers on the grid, then why should he fear? Another team would be happy to hire him – McLaren for instance. So, the real risk for Hamilton in my opinion is whether he will perform in comparison to his teammate or not.

      Also, congratualations Narain! Please don’t show up March 17th!

      1. @andae23 Agree with everything, except the Narain part – we need someone, who makes Vettel (or any other front runner) mess up his races!

        As for Hamilton, I think he wouldn’t be going to Mercedes if he didn’t believe in their ability to win races by 2014 at the latest.

    10. Happy birthday to Giancarlo Fisichella! He turns 40 today. When I started following F1, he was a hot young rookie…

    11. I think that it would improve transparency if there were a published standard to which the stewards would be held. When an incident calls for a reprimand or a penalty needs to be clarified as, even since the introduction of the driver steward, decisions are still inconsistent. What one driver gets away with, another gets landed with a drive-through.

    12. Maybe Petrov should become a steward?

    13. Omg, 18th place? How can Alonso be so good in an F1 car but so bad at karting?

      1. He had kart problems apparently. Something to do with the throttle and dnf in 1st race

        1. ^@klass, and the first part should be a link (here) and the second should just be usual text, quite how I managed to do that I don’t know!

          1. @klaas, oh dear! I really ought to proof read these things before I post them!

    14. Permanent stewards could cause permanent favoring of one or a few drivers.
      I know most of you are brits, but imagine if the stewards were mostly British. What would the decisions be when Hamilton and Massa were “having their moments” in 2011?
      The FIA will need to be very careful to make sure stewards are consistent, but not consistently “helping” their favorite driver.

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