Its been a miserable start for the FIA’s new president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. He faced a rebellion from Mercedes refusing to attend the FIA gala and pressure to sack his race director Michael Massi who was the most qualified for the job. Then the new plan for race control to have alternating race directors has been repeatedly criticised for the lack of consistency of decisions during the GP weekends.
Such is the notable deterioration in race control’s ability to manage the race consistently the F1 Drivers have begun calling for full time professional stewards and a return to just 1 race director for the season.
Sergio Perez has been wronged by the stewards now twice in 3 races.
In Austria where drivers were having lap times deleted for exceeding track limits, Perez did so in Q2. However, the stewards only noticed this when qualifying had finished and demoted Perez from P3 to P10.
The problem with such ‘after the event’ decisions, which have not been made previously, is that Perez ran the whole of Q3 burning up tyres he could have saved for the race and putting unnecessary engine mileage on his car.
Today again it was Sergio Perez who saw another mistake being made by the stewards. In Q2 he was deemed to exceed track limits on his first run in turn 5 and had his time deleted. This then puts huge pressure on the driver to make a clean second run or face certain elimination.
As Perez was starting his second Q2 run, race control reinstated the Red Bull driver’s time but Perez missed out on Q3 by 2 hundredths of a second.
He was compromised by Kevin Magnussen in turn 2, yet the stewards didn’t penalise the Haas driver as is the rule.
After the session ended, Perez told reporters, “I just don’t think the system is really up to it. We have to review it and see how we can move forwards to have some more consistency.
“It is messy but then I got Kevin going into turn two.
“I missed Q3 by a couple of hundredths but I lost a few tenths with Kevin going into turn two so an unfortunate qualifying for me.”
Part of the problem is the FIA has decided correctly to monitor all track limits incursions on all corners at all circuits, something Charlie Whiting told this writer was “impossible to do given the 20 cars and the length of the circuits.”
Whilst this is clearly the right decision, the technology isn’t there for race control to know automatically who has exceed the white lines and who hasn’t. The process is manual as the stewards review footage from the cars travelling around the circuit.
Given F1’s multi billion dollar income it seems rather incompetent that such a manual process persists. F1 is the peak of motorsport technology and sure a solution can be found where sensors pick up track limits trasgressions and immediately adjust the timing screens.
Perez starts the 2022 F1 Hungarian GP in P11 one place behind his team mate Max Verstappen with their main rivals Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in P2 and P3 respectively.