F1 stewards considering new review system

Formula 1's race stewards are considering a new system to review past races in a bid to improve consistency of decisions from next season.

During a meeting of the FIA in Vienna on Tuesday, the stewards agreed that there was room for improvement to ensure that decisions made are fair - and not lacking in consistency.

One idea that is being evaluated is for a regular conference of stewards throughout the season to analyse decisions made, so that there is a proper understanding of why rulings were made and whether precedents should be taken into account.

This should help ensure that drivers are treated in the same way for similar offences.

Stewards' chairman Garry Connelly said: "We went through a lot of rules and looked at how we can work with the FIA to tidy up the wording, enabling us to take quicker decisions.

"We talked a lot about how we can achieve better consistency. We think that more meetings and more reviews of past decisions are necessary, so that we all understand how each panel of stewards is treating a particular situation, especially where it's necessary for the stewards to make a subjective ruling, on a dangerous driving charge for example. That is quite a subjective issue.

"These are obviously decisions that are made collectively but understanding how those decisions can be made more consistent is valuable."

Connelly said that a system used by the German motorsport federation DMSB – of regular video conferences to evaluate all decisions made – would be one way to ensure better stewarding.

"The stewards get together by video link to look back at incidents and discuss the decisions made," said Connelly. "We thought that might be good thing to do every three or four races."

Circuit changes

One of the major talking points this year where stewards' consistency was questioned came at Mexico, where Lewis Hamilton escaped a penalty for cutting across the grass at Turn 1 while Max Verstappen was later penalised.

Connelly said that the issue of track limits was a complicated one, but felt the onus should be on circuit designs being changed so that if drivers do run wide there is a penalty – such as the need to go through a chicane or around a cone.

He explained: "There are now probably only 11 or 12 corners across the whole championship where there is the potential for cutting corners in a very obvious way.

"There are solutions that can be adopted to sort those issues out, such as the solution that has been adopted for Turn One in Monza, where if you do go off there is a natural penalty in that it takes you longer to rejoin than if you had used the circuit. That makes it a lot easier for the stewards as the penalty is applied on track.

"The point we also made is that the rules say a driver can rejoin the track as long as you do it safely and gain no lasting advantage. The word lasting is again very subjective.

"Does it mean lasting for 500m, until the next turn, the next few laps or the whole race? That subjectivity is removed if the circuit is modified or designed to immediately disadvantage a driver if he does go off track."

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