Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Drivers to meet FIA and stewards to discuss penalty controversies

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 drivers will meet with the FIA and stewards to discuss how racing incidents should be policed following a series of controversial penalties.

The outcomes of two of the last three F1 races have been shaped by penalty decisions which attracted widespread debate. Sebastian Vettel lost a potential victory in the Canadian Grand Prix due to a penalty, while the outcome of the Austrian Grand Prix was only settled hours after the chequered flag when the stewards cleared Max Verstappen following an incident investigation.

Drivers have called for greater freedom to race without interference from stewards in the wake of the controversies. FIA president Jean Todt told RaceFans he has convened a meeting between representatives of the governing body, the stewards and drivers to take place in Geneva on July 23rd following the German Grand Prix.

Todt is keen to give drivers freedom to race, but said the sport must be policed which he believes will inevitably attract some criticism.

“If I say ‘OK, let them race’, in two races it’s such a wild situation people [say] ‘please do something’,” said Todt.

“I’ve not [got] a magic [wand]. I think simply whatever is happening people will always try an angle to criticise and to be unhappy.

“So in a way what we do is to answer to police the sport. We must make sure that it’s policed but of course if you do police, people are not always happy about the result of the policing.”

Todt admitted that the trend towards greater use of asphalt run-offs at circuit had created new problems for stewards. “It’s the way modern circuits have been designed, contrarily to natural circuits,” he said.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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16 comments on “Drivers to meet FIA and stewards to discuss penalty controversies”

  1. Hypocrites! They ask to race without interference, but when an incident happens who’s the first one on the radio?

    If they wan’t to race then they should be quiet and get on with it instead of opening their mouth every time they are overtaken by something that isn’t 100% clean. When have we ever heard a driver tell his team an overtake against them was okay and it shouldn’t be investigated?

    1. Most drivers get on the radio in the first place to achieve a potential advantage. Why do they do that? Because the rules enable it and allow penalties to be given for such minor incidents.

      Take Leclerc in the last race for example: He was opening the inside line because the rules actually require the driver to leave one car width space at all times. He could use that rule to his advantage during Verstappen’s first attempt to use the better acceleration on the outside line despite his older tyres to stay ahead. In the lap after, Verstappen didn’t leave the gap anymore and the result was obvious. If that rules would not exist, I’m fairly certain Leclerc would have blocked the inside line harder.

      1. And? Same as Hamilton the race before, he got on the radio to give Vettel a penalty.

        If they don’t want to give the other driver a penalty the answer is simple, don’t get on the radio… They all just want it to go their way all the time, and it never can so now they will just have a whinge and say give less penalties, but the first time something happens on the track again they will all be getting on the radio asking for penalties as always.

        1. Pretty sure the drivers will stop over time if they realize that penalties won’t be given for such minor contacts anymore. The starting point has to be a rule change.

          Asking for drivers to stop it by themselves is really gullible.

          1. What? There was no penalty given in the Verstappen incident just last week! Whether a penalty is applied depends on the severity of the incident and multiple factors as it gets investigated, as it rightly should be. The stewards did exactly what people were asking for the week before.

            In my opinion asking for less penalties when at every opportunity the drivers are asking for a penalty is what’s gullible. Or should we just rewind 2 years when Max was moving around the braking zone like a mad man? Nobody was asking for no penalties then.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      14th July 2019, 12:17

      @skipgamer Actually Raikkonen is usually quite fair about his critique’s of “not 100% clean situations”

      1. Well you’re right, Bottas comes to mind too.

        Wouldn’t surprise me if those doing most of the talking at this meeting are the same ones that are loudest on the radio. Complain about overtakes, complain about the rules, complain about their treatment in the press, complain about the quality of the competition. It’s usually the same mob.

  2. The 23rd is the Tuesday before the German GP actually.

  3. I do find it annoying when they get on the radio and whine but that’s just modern sport these days. Leclerc moaned about Verstappen but recently admitted what he did was fine.

  4. 1. If there is no contact, no steward interference needed, period (I.E. no penalty for Vettel in Canada)
    2. If there is contact, only penalize if one party is blatantly at fault. (if you have to have a discussion longer than 3’s about who’s at fault here, it’s not a penalty but a racing incident)
    3. Don’t police track limits anymore, just put a 2-meter wide grass and/or gravel strip on the edge of the track to slow them down naturally. Everything else is fair game, including gaining an advantage by taking the risk of going off track and losing time or even potentially spinning.

    This will reduce the number of times the stewards will have to get involved by 90% and the amount of discussion about their decisions if they do, by 100%.

    1. 3 is crazy, it’s always going to be faster to cut off certain corners or chicanes even with a strip of grass or gravel. Learnt that back in Microprose GP back in the day. You only need to cut a corner and get a 3s advantage every 10 laps if you’re going 3 tenths slower… Add to that who wants to see overtaking as a result of cutting corners.

      2 is also crazy. If you’re leading the championship and you can take out your rival without losing out to others, it becomes a game of how can you crash without it being obviously deliberate rather than a game of who is fastest.

      1. Seems good, makes sense, until you consider drivers shouldn’t be punished for avoiding a car hurtling into them.

    2. @jeffreyj
      1. noone would be able to overtake! period! (i.e you have no idea about racing so leave the rules alone)

      2. if 1 is allowed, then more max/vet crashes or max/ric crashes will happen, and it will take weeks to decide who is the blatant idiot caused the crash? one braking for the corner or the guy trying to overtake?

      3. good luck with that, again (i.e you have no idea about racing so leave the rules alone)

  5. RocketTankski
    14th July 2019, 13:46

    3a. Put water barrels at the edge of the track to slow them down naturally :)
    The track limits are meant to be part of the challenge of racing, not just an advisory of the fastest route?
    I kind of agree on point 2. though.

  6. Ferrari getting discriminated, no decision goes tbeir way and every time they have to resort to some excuse to justify this, the verstappen leclerc incident is awful dkuble standards and 10 sec for vettel is weird, like vettel hit the zig zagging max, isnt that a racing incident. the answer to better stewards is simple, have the stewards blindfolded

    1. John Toad (@)
      14th July 2019, 16:12

      No it’s not a ‘racing incident’ , it’s just SV confirming once more that he’s overdue for retirement.

      1. Yes, insane to have alonso out of f1 and vettel at ferrari, even though alonso recently said he’d only come back if he can win a championship immediately, if he only wants mercedes it’s gonna be even harder, he should take any red bull or ferrari offer at least, can go for some win.

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