Perez calls on FIA to change the stewards

Formula One governance by the FIA is under fire from many angles. Mercedes petitioned for the F1 race director Michael Massi to be removed following his championship deciding decisions made at the final round of the 2021 championship. The FIA replaced Massi with two alternating race directors and are now being criticised by the drivers for a lack of consistency in their race management week in week out.

The role of the race director is to observe the events live on track and manage the race. He refers potential driver infringements to the stewards who then decide on whether a penalty should be awarded.

The stewards appointed for each Grand Prix vary from weekend to weekend. There is always an ex driver steward intended to bring a drivers perspective over on track incidents, yet this steward may have never driven an F1 car and been a rally driver or a WEC competitor during their career.

Driver stewards were introduced in 2010 following a string of criticisms over consistency.

The remaining stewards are in reality ‘grace and favour’ appointments by the FIA.

In Imola this year we saw Nish Shetty appointed as a steward. Shetty is a judge on the FIA International Court of Appeal, as well as a Chairman of the Disciplinary Commission of the Singapore Motor Sports Association and a national steward for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Shetty is in no way qualified to be a steward for a Formula One race. And there are many others like Nish who influence F1 race outcomes but are in reality amateurs doing a high pressure high speed job.



The English Premier League was run like this until 2001, when football stopped using amateurs and referees were made professional. They weren’t just offered free tickets and expenses to an event any more, they received a starting salary of £60,000 a year.

A panel of referees was developed and are graded based on the decisions they make during a game good or bad. The better referees get more games together with the more high profile games, whilst those who are poor receive further training.

TJ13 has campaigned for almost 10 years for a small panel of professional stewards to be appointed. Given the extensive growth in the calendar it would be unreasonable for the same stewards to adjudicate all the season’s events. Yet if between 6 and 9 professional stewards were appointed and paid for their services a salary, this would mitigate much of the current lack of consistency these part time ‘grace and favour’ stewards are delivering.



Now finally a Formula One driver has joined the cause. Sergio Pérez was asked this week whether permanent stewards should be appointed in Formula One. The Mexican replied, ““that would be good to try to make some progress, because every weekend you’re finding different stewards.”

During the 2022 Austrian GP we had a set of stewards who took a hard line on track limits and we saw a total of 43 cautions issued during the Grand Prix. Yet the week before in Silverstone track limits were monitored differently due to a more relaxed attitude set by a different set of stewards.

For the first time in history 2022 sees F1 have not one race director but two, which again leads to different interpretations of the rules from week to week.



Sebastian Vettel walked out of the mandatory FIA drivers’ briefing in Austria because he was frustrated at the race director Neils Wittich failure to control the meeting.

Vettel was fined 25,000 – suspended – for this action.

Depending how you count eyeballs on screens, Formula One events are one of the 3 most watched sports year in year out. The sport is a multi billion empire.

Surely the rule makers and sporting referees of F1 should be professional and accountable, rather than a rag tag and bobtail bunch off appointees whose appointments are based on their support for the current FIA institute.

READ MORE: Horner reacts to Wolff’s “cheating” accusations as “Rubbish”

3 responses to “Perez calls on FIA to change the stewards

  1. Erm.. the article mentions some Shetty guy who is actually a steward for Singapore F1… And then goes on to say that the same guy isn’t qualified to make F1 stewarding decisions at other races?…. Makes zero sense. A steward isn’t qualified to be a steward? Ok…

  2. God, can you imagine the headline “the judge” would have written of ghos had been fro anyone in the Mercedes camp… let alone Lewis! 🤦🏻

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