Sure, cheap engines but what else did they discuss?

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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?

Stewards

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

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Sakae

What’s the incentive again to drive fast in qualifying, so you can get to the back of a grid? BTW, is that position ahead, or behind a guy who has received 65 places demotion due to too many equipment changes? Sometimes I think people who do suggest such “innovation” perhaps watched one too many horse race handicaps, and think, better you are, more beating you should receive as reward to motivate you on south facing direction.

Paul KieferJr

1. While NASCAR does seem a little wild at times, it’s certainly not this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4TdPxOXuYw

Suspensions have occurred. They’ve been rare, but they’ve occurred.

2. Consistency is one thing. Consistently right is another.

Meine Postma

Of course if you can understand the history, consistency and dynamics of a F1 race and a driver’s actions then Teddy probably also can.

But there will of course always be local preferences and cultural differences.

Negative Camber

Well, there are a few Teddys out there that clearly do not understand. :)

Alianora La Canta

F1 had a consistent steward for a couple of years (2007 and 2008), and it resulted in arguably the least consistent stewarding seen in F1 for over two decades. There were repeated instances of drivers getting different penalties for the same offense, and at least one occasion of Sebastian Bourdais getting blamed for minding his own business in a pit exit, just because Felipe Massa was having un unusally bad race nearby and hit him as a result. The requirement that stewards have all the offences committed in a given season in front of them in 2008 didn’t obviate the… Read more »

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