Sure, they agreed to cheaper engine supply deals in the neighborhood of 12 million but what else did the brain trust of F1 discuss at the summit in Geneva?
For starters, they discussed the need for some leniency in stewarding and penalties. Some team bosses and most Formula 1 fans believe that the penalties for taking chances in F1 is getting ridiculous and that it is preventing drivers for taking a chance and making some dynamic passing moves for fear of being penalized with time or grid penalties.
The group agreed that a memorandum should be sent to stewards to tell them to stop micromanaging races and let the driver race.
NASCAR made a similar decision a few years ago in that they felt they should let them race. The conventional axiom is “rubbin’ is racin’” in NASCAR and it prompted some knock-on effects that were less than desirable but nonetheless, they still are anchored to that notion in the interest of better racing. It seems to have worked from this outsider’s view but perhaps the NASCAR fans among us can enlighten us.
Key here is, for me, consistency in stewarding a race. The white line issue is a bit outlandish as well. All of this is well and good but if Nico has another Spa 2014 incident, you can bet people will be outraged and looking for a penalty. Stewarding a race is a professional role but it has an element of subjective interpretation to it as well. I’ve seen guest stewards who I feel made bad calls because the feel like that have to bring some sort of impact to the role they have been asked to perform. I’d prefer they remain consistent, not that they make it known that they were stewards at a race and they really added something to the role but penalizing someone for something only they could clearly see and understand as a former racer.
What I believe would be best is a consistent stewarding crew just like NFL referees. I know that the role of Steward is a way for the FIA to give back to the motoring clubs for their money and votes but it has a negative impact on the sport. I have a hard time believing that Teddy, the head of a small motoring club in Kuala Lumpur would be able to understand the history, consistency and dynamics of a F1 race and a driver’s actions. No offense to Teddy, I’m sure he does a bang up job of running their local motoring club but that doesn’t qualify Teddy for the role of arbiter of a F1 race.
Race Weekend shakeup
The group also discussed shaking up the race weekend with concepts like revers grids and changed qualifying sessions. This is thin ice for the group as promoters have a hell of a lot of skin in this game. If you pay $25 million to host a race, you certainly can’t stand for the group arbitrarily deciding to cut the weekend short. It’s about putting butts in seats all weekend long to have any hope of coming anywhere near recouping your expense and any cut in a race weekend will be scorned. Conversely, they should add more features to a weekend to make the investment more lucrative for promoters.
Hat Tip: Motorsport