Aussie ace slams “inconsistent” stewarding and calls for shake-up in 2009
Red Bull driver and Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) director Mark Webber has called for a radical overhaul in the way grand prix are stewarded in 2009 following a spate of seemingly inconsistent interventions from race officials this year.
The stewards have intervened on a number of occasions this year with many of their decisions proving controversial and attracting widespread criticism from both within the sport and amongst fans and enthusiasts.
Newly crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton in particular has felt the brunt of the stewards’ stick having been dealt penalties on no new fewer than six occasions, while Ferrari managed to escape penalty in circumstances where others fell foul most notably in Valencia when Felipe Massa was cleared of being released unsafely into the path of another driver in the pit lane.
Hamilton’s reprimand in Belgium a twenty five second penalty for cutting a chicane during his titanic duel with Kimi Raikkonen caused global outrage amongst fans and enthusiasts who saw the decision as a further illustration pro-Ferrari bias.
And Sebastien Bourdais’ penalty for his tangle with Felipe Massa in Japan – which promoted the Brazilian to seventh – did little to help change the mood in the stewards’ favour.
“Poor stewarding is unquestionably bad for us,” admits Webber, speaking to the BBC.
The GPDA director would like to see an end to retrospective post-race penalties where the outcome of a grand prix is often not established until race officials have given their verdict. And he hopes that more consistent stewarding can be put in place for next year.
“As far as I’m concerned, we should have it like it is in football – whoever crosses the line first, wins – outside of technical infringement with the car, someone cheating with their car. We should be calling that a result.”
“The consistency this season has been lacking somewhat – I’m sure the race officials this season would agree – and I’m sure things will change in that regard next campaign. Have something permanent, and go from there.”