Three-time F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart has spoken out about the 'disorganised' state of FIA race officiating, following the post-race controversy that followed the season finale at Sao Paulo.
Questions about whether Sebastian Vettel had overtaken under waved yellow flags in the Brazilian Grand Prix emerged days after the race, and briefly cast doubt on whether the young German had actually clinched his latest F1 world championship over rival Fernando Alonso.
“Was the judgement of yellow and green flags right or wrong in Brazil and why would that have to come up on a Wednesday or Thursday?", Stewart told City A.M.
business editor Christian Sylt. "That is a huge statement of a disorganised function that it should come up then. The whole world is celebrating a new world champion and then that happens on a Wednesday. That is a poor declaration of management."
But the FIA immediately hit back against Stewart's criticism.
"It was not a lack of management as there was no case to answer," said a spokesman in response to Stewart's reported comments. "Race control did not refer this to stewards because it was not deemed to be an incident."
Stewart has suggested that the FIA should appoint a permanent race steward to ensure a sense of consistency and professionalism to race officiating. F1 previously had a permanent chief steward in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but the initiative was discontinued after that.
It was replaced by a four-person panel, one of which is reserved for a former driver, a system that clearly does not find favour with Stewart who criticised the lack of a full-time member. “How can you possibly have four different stewards at every Grand Prix?" Stewart asked. "Why have you not got one professional?”
Stewart also told City A.M.
that he was surprised by how quiet and low-key the new FIA president Jean Todt had been since taking over the post from Max Mosely in 2009, and suggested that the former Ferrari team principal might be biding his time for good reason further down the line.