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Stewart: 'Points' man at all GP's

2013-05-16 09:07

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: The Lotus driver earned a bad reputation in 2012 for bad driving and was banned from one race after a crash in Belgium. Image: AFP


LONDON, England - Formula 1 must have a permanent race steward at all races if a drivers' licence penalty-points system is introduced for the 2014 season.

That, at least, is the opinion of triple World champion Jackie Stewart.

F1 teams approved the points plan during the 2013 Spanish GP weekend (May 10-12 2013). It must now be rubber-stamped by the International Automobile Federation's World Motor Sport Council at a meeting in June 2013.


The system will be similar to that familiar to ordinary drivers in the UK (and threatened in South Africa) with F1 drivers given penalty points for infringements which, if 12 are racked up in a year, would mean a race ban.

Stewart, a pioneer in campaigning for safety improvements in the late 1960's and early 1970's, told Reuters that the federation should make sure such punishments were consistent.

"I think it's wrong that the federation has part-time stewards dealing with safety," Stewart said. "It's not correct to have part-time stewards brought in from any other country for one or two races.

"They must be the same people all the time so there's no risk of peak-and-valley judgements. It has to be unilateral, with authority, with expertise, and that person should be appointed and paid. Judging should be consistent."

F1 stewards currently change from race to race, with a former driver joining two federation-selected officials. Australian Alan Jones, the 1980 World Drivers' champion, was the drivers' representative in Spain.

The most recently banned F1 driver was Lotus's Romain Grosjean; he missed the 2012 Italian GP after causing a first-corner pile-up in Belgium. He was involved in seven incidents in the first 12 races of 2012 but has stayed out of trouble so far in 2013.

Bans have been a rarity in the sport, however, with financial penalties more usual in recent years.


Grosjean was non-committal about the points plan. "It's difficult to say anything until we have a proper catalogue of the penalty for different things," he said when asked about it during the Spanish GP weekend.

"It's a very difficult subject. It's not like on the road (where) if you don't put on your seat belt it's three points, if you don't stop at a red light it's three points. Here, what would it be?"

Federation race director Charlie Whiting revealed at the 2013 season-opening Australian GP that the points penalty system was under discussion. "We need to get the balance right because banning a driver is a serious issue. We need to make sure a driver genuinely deserves any ban.

"We will be monitoring offences and running a (hypothetical) system in the background to see how it would all work if put into practice. We need to do that for a while."
Read more on:    formula 1

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