After coming under fire on more than one occasion during 2008, the FIA has revealed that it is to update its stewarding arrangements for the 2009 Formula One season.
The FIA's stewarding team was involved in a number of controversial incidents over the course of the campaign, most notably at Spa and in Japan.
Those incidents, which included Lewis Hamilton being stripped of his victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, led to calls for changes to be made to the current stewarding arrangements in F1, and following the latest meeting of the FIA World Motorsport Council in Paris, the sport's governing body has now revealed that changes are afoot for next season.
"During the 2008 season a review took place of the stewarding arrangements in F1," a statement from the FIA read. "The current panel of stewards consists of two international stewards and one national steward, all of whom must be eligible for the FIA's super licence. For 2009, the following updates will be made:
"Any national steward participating who is officiating for the first time will be required to 'observe' a minimum of one Grand Prix prior to their event.
"At five Grands Prix in 2009, a number of trainee Stewards, nominated by their ASN and selected by the FIA, will be invited to attend.
"Before each Grand Prix, a short CV of each steward will be posted on the FIA website.
"With the benefit of a new replay system available to the stewards, all incidents will be investigated and appropriate action taken during the race, unless it is essential to seek further evidence afterwards.
"Following the race, a short written explanation of steward's decisions will be published on the FIA website. This will supplement the formal steward's decision which largely defines the breach of the rules.
"Where appropriate, additional film evidence that the public may not have seen but which was reviewed by the stewards, will be made available on both the FIA and FOM websites."
Calls had also been made during the season for a former driver to secure a place as a race steward during the season, and the FIA admitted there was no reason why that couldn't take place – if the person involved went through the right channels.
"No former driver is excluded from seeking their ASN national stewarding licence," the statement continued, "and then, as with all of the existing stewards, if they gain the necessary level of experience in stewarding events at a national, regional and international level, the FIA can consider them for a steward's super licence.”