The all new FIA under the leadership of Mohammed del Sulayem has come under a significant amount of flack this season. The retiring FIA president Jean Todt’s regime tended to on the whole fly under the radar. However, Sulayem’s approach is to be up front and centre which has created a host of criticism from the drivers, teams and pundits.
One of the biggest criticisms of the new FIA race control management has been inconsistency Ferrari were aggrieved in Monaco over the Red Bull cars using the white line pit lane delimiter having made their pit stops.
Whether the cars should be inside the white line or not over the whiter line became a storm in a tea cup.
F1 stewards decision was black and white
However, the rule should in fact be clear. Pit lane speeding offences are a slam dunk black and white matter. The stewards need not to even consider such a breach of regulations.
Also, safety car regulations are pretty much black and white. If the lead car in the ‘snake’ behind the safety cat falls more than 1§0 lengths behind its a slam dunk penalty.
We learned from the Singapore stewards that Sergio Perez in fact5 fell more than 10 lengths behind the safety car on three occasions as TJ13 explains here.
Singapore F1 stewards indecision
Yet more than two hours after the race, the Singapore stewards finally gave their verdict on Perez behaviour. He was given a 5 second penalty and a reprimand worth 2 points on his license.
Given there was around 30 minutes to the end of the race when F§ race control flagged Perez was under investigation, why the FIA couldn’t adjudicate his transgression and issue the appropriate penalty seemed pedantic at best.
The FIA have revealed that the 4 stewards at the Singapore GP couldn’t agree on the Perez penalty.
3 of them wished to issue a 5 second penalty immediately, however the fourth steward blocked this which meant the matter was not finalised until around 2 hours after the chequered flag.
Pit lane speeding, safety car infringements and unsafer releases are fairly slam dunk penalties. So why one steward refused to issue the 5 second penalty to Perez is questionable.
More FIA incompetence
The Perez safety car issue has revealed to us how the steward decision making works. Clearly to issue a penalty during the race, the F1 stewards need to be unanimous in their view.
This appears to be a flawed process the FIA needs ton iron out. Surely a 75% majority decision is sufficient for the stewards to make a decision. Yet clearly FIA stewards decisions must be unanimous.
Week in and week out the FIA appears to be in disarray and maybe this is because the president doesn’t have an F1 background. Yet this is no excuse, managing a motorsports event is simply down to establishing and following processes.
Perez allegedly breached the 10 car length rule 3 times during the Singapore GP. He was only penalised for one of those breaches with the 5 second time penalty that was irrelevant given he was 7.5 seconds ahead of Charles LeClerc in P2.
This appears a fairly insignificant failure on behalf of the FIA appointed delegates., yet in reality to goes to the core issue of how the FIA manages Formula One.
F1 breakaway from the FIA
F1 is bigger in terms of finance and audience than all the other FIA regulated series put together yet we have a senior official who has no F1 experience.
Today Practice 2 had been extended by 30 minutes to allow testing for the 2023 Pirelli rubber. Yet the session was wet and so the tyres Pirelli wished to test could not be used. However, the session remained at 90 minutes which merely saw less cars on track than was originally envisioned.
Why do we not have a pool of around 10 professional stewards rather than the grace and favour appointments the FIA make from race to race at present?
There are EU regulations which credit the FIA as the Formula One governing body. Yet given the global status of Formula One surely they could appoint a new body to handle their regulations and race management.
The FIA members are over 90% non F1 people, so why is this organisation running the third largest sporting event in the world?
Whilst it would take a significant period of time to establish a singular Formula One regulatory authority, given the choice the all new FIA have made to stand up to F1, it would be prudent for the sport to have a plan B in place and crack on with it’s own independent regulatory authority.
Senna ’89 vs Vettel ’19 👀
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 6, 2022