FIA Overhaul Stewarding Process, Possibly From Mars

FIA Overhaul Stewarding Process, Possibly From Mars

Following the retirement of the FIA’s permanent race steward, Tony Scott Andrews, the governing body has taken the opportunity to shake up the way stewards deal with situations at races in 2008. Up until the end of 2007, Andrews worked alongside two other stewards; one from the national sporting authority and another from outside the participating country. Under Andrews’s guidance issues surrounding the investigating and dealing with breaches of the rules at each Grand Prix were handled. However, more often than not the handling of punishments didn’t come across as just to the teams and fans and the FIA have been heavily criticised for this. Particularly when a breach of the rules is made public only for nothing to be done about it after days of deliberation.

Now the FIA have put in place three nominated officials for each race and will be assisted by president Max Mosley’s representative, Alan Donnelly. The three officials will be neutral, therefore not hailing from the nation holding the Grand Prix. The FIA say that it is hoped this change will bring about swifter resolutions to incidents, apparently prompted by the five days it took to solve the saga of Lewis Hamilton’s driving behaviour following the Japanese Grand Prix last year. The cool-fuel saga also took a fair amount time to resolve, delaying the final result of the final race and leaving fans frustrated.

Please forgive me, but I have to ask: Am I the only person who, based on this information given, is failing to see how this will speed up decisions? Because I simply don’t understand how taking two stewards and a chief steward and turning them into three stewards and an advisor is really going to make that much of a difference. I am also failing to see how this will improve the consistency of the decisions made; the FIA have gone from three stewards to four. If anything this will add complication if it came down to split in opinion and it was 50:50. At least with three stewards it would fall in someones favour. I’m sure it doesn’t work like that, but you get what I’m saying.

Maybe it is that I’m not fully understanding this, or have missed some salient piece of information, but I just don’t get it. Feel free to try and explain this to me in the comments, because I really do want to understand, but currently I’m sitting here wondering what planet the FIA are on. Really, I am!

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8 comments

  • The delay after Fuji was it took that long for the next event to be held and the extra evidence to show up.

    The problem with the stewarts is they depend on the FIA for their jobs, and that limits their independence, not where they come from.

    I presume Donnelly’s job as advisor is to advise them if they want to keep their jobs then do what the FIA want.

  • “I presume Donnelly’s job as advisor is to advise them if they want to keep their jobs then do what the FIA want.”

    got it in one.

    he also works privately for bernie doesn’t he? so he’ll probably do the best thing for the sports ‘image’, regardless of justice.

  • Is it the same 3 officials at each race, or different ones appointed for different races?

    The nationality of the stewards doesn’t really bother me – I would just prefer that it was the same people at every race, especially if the stewards at one grand prix are to pass judgement on something that happened at the one previous to it.

    After all, is a British steward less likely to pass good judgement on an incident at the British GP than he is at the French GP for example? I don’t think so.

  • @Don: Wise words.

    @Sidepodcast: Do you know know what Donnelly does for Bernie? I was unaware of him working two jobs.

    @Craig: I believe they will be different at each race. However, thinking logically about the numbers, I would presume some may be called upon more than once. Which could bring back the inconsistency, in my mind.

  • Each steward is appointed one race at a time so in theory there could be 50+ used throughout the season. In addition to not being the same nationality as the race they cannot be the same nationality of any of the drivers. Don’t know where they are going to find them.

    Three permanent stewards would make sense. The reason Tony Scott-Andrews was appointed (by Max) originally was to give more consistent decisions. Clearly by this decision Max either doesn’t understand consistency or he wants more variety in the decision making process.

  • There hasn’t been that much consistency in the decision-making even with a permanent steward in place. That indicates to me that a better path would have been training the stewards better, or maybe (shock horror) writing the rules in a clear, unambiguous manner with penalties mapped out. In the latter case, maybe the stewards would have half a chance of being able to be consistent!

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