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Singapore Grand Prix: Warwick: Webber penalty not ‘health and safety gone mad’

Race steward Derek Warwick insists that, had Mark Webber hitched a lift back to the pits 'in a safer manner', then punishments would not have been necessary.
Former F1 driver turned FIA race steward Derek Warwick insists that punishing Mark Webber for running onto the Marina Bay track to hail a lift back to the pits was entirely justified – even if the decision has not been welcomed by either the fans or Webber himself.

Having already accrued two reprimands for driving offences earlier in the year, a third slap on the wrist triggered an automatic ten-place grid penalty for the Australian at next month's Korean Grand Prix.

Webber has made his feelings known via a series of Twitter posts – adding a selection of images showing similar F1 'taxi rides' over the years that included one shot of Warwick straddling the engine cover of Gerhard Berger's Ferrari – while fans have reacted to what they see as 'over the top' officiating, but Warwick insists that there was little that the stewards could do after the Red Bull driver re-entered a live circuit in contravention of the regulations.

“It is not health and safety gone mad,” Warwick told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, “A driver could easily have been hurt.”

The BRDC president said that fans complaining about the punishment handed down to Webber probably only saw the end of the incident, where the popular Aussie – who retires from the top flight at the end of the season – returned to the pits on the sidepod of Alonso's Ferrari. CCTV later revealed that Webber had run from behind the barriers to 'hail' Alonso as he completed his slow down lap, causing the Spaniard to stop in the middle of turn seven, obscured from the view of other drivers behind him on track. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were forced to take avoiding action to prevent a collision with either Webber or the stationary Ferrari.

“I hope we're not seen as killjoys,” Warwick continued, “I want F1 to be entertaining. I want it to be a spectacle. I'm a big fan of MotoGP and I wish we could get closer to the drivers like they do in MotoGP.

“We have become a bit sterile in many ways in F1, but we cannot put drivers at risk. If it had been done in a safer manner then it might have been viewed differently, but this was potentially very dangerous. You can't have cars parked in the middle of a corner.”

Warwick also confirmed that a reprimand had been the mot lenient option open to the stewards following the drivers' request to remove fines from the list of penalties in the wake of more expensive superlicences.

Alonso was also hit with a reprimand, although it didn't trigger a grid penalty as it wasn't a third offence.

Tagged as: Mark Webber , Derek Warwick , taxi

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
22.09.2013- Race,  Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9 on Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 car
Derek Warwick
08.10.2016 - Free Practice 3, Mark Arnall, Personal Trainer for Kimi Raikkonen and Maurizio Arrivabene (ITA) Ferrari Team Principal
02.10.2016 - Race, Mark Webber (AUS) and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 race winner
02.10.2016 - Mark Webber (AUS)
01.10.2016 - Qualifying, Mark Webber (AUS) and David Coulthard (GBR)
01.10.2016 - Mark Webber (AUS)
Derek Warwick and George Osborne
Derek Warwick and George Osborne
Derek Warwick and George Osborne
Derek Warwick and George Osborne
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes and Mark Webber
09.07.2016 - Qualifying, Mark Webber (AUS)
09.07.2016 - Qualifying, Susie Wolff (GBR), Eddie Jordan (GBR) and Mark Webber (AUS)
09.07.2016 - Free Practice 3, Eddie Jordan, Mark Webber (AUS) and David Coulthard (GBR)
12.06.2016 - Race, Derek Warwick and Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor
12.06.2016 - Race, Derek Warwick and Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes
12.06.2016 - Race, Derek Warwick and Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes

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