F1 might end a spate of near-constant driver penalties by installing a permanent race steward.
FIA president Jean Todt’s new initiative of having a former professional racing driver on the stewards’ panel at every grand prix has been widely praised.
But the system may not be perfect, as the last couple of grands prix indicate.
Some observers were amazed that Sebastian Vettel’s swerve against Jenson Button at the Suzuka start last weekend was not penalised.
“I am not going to lie”, Button commented. “At that moment in time, yes, I felt that it was a little bit more than was needed.”
Alex Wurz, speaking on Austrian television ORF, said he thinks Vettel was lucky not to have his championship celebrations delayed by a penalty.
“He was lucky that (1980 world champion) Alan Jones was the driver steward, because someone else might have issued a warning or even a stop and go,” he said.
Agreed a report in Speed Week: “Obviously Alan Jones took a tough approach (at Suzuka).”
Like Button, also upset at Suzuka was Felipe Massa, angry that Lewis Hamilton’s latest collision went unpunished.
“They (the stewards) have penalised people for much less this year and this time they didn’t do it,” said the Brazilian.
Force India team manager Otmar Szafnauer agrees that consistency is crucial so that drivers know how to behave.
“If something has happened three times before then he knows the way it is and what has to happen,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.