Max Mosley let down the FIA and the FIA let down Formula 1 with some of its stewarding decisions in 2008 – that is the outspoken view of the sport's much-loved veteran commentator Murray Walker.
Mosley found his privacy splashed all across the international media back in March following a salacious front page exposé on his sex life in UK Sunday tabloid the News of the World
– and whilst Walker admits the scandal ultimately caused no lasting damage, in the short-term it certainly rocked F1 to its core.
“I was very disappointed with the FIA, for two reasons,” the 85-year-old told Crash.net Radio
. “One is that I think the organisation was badly let down by its president in terms of what he did in the belief that it was private, but which became public to the detriment of his image and must to a mild extent have adversely affected Formula 1.
“These things are a five-day wonder, though – no one is talking about what Max Mosley did in private now, and the sport hasn't actually suffered at all in my opinion.”
The other aspect to the 2008 campaign for which Walker expressed his distaste was the lack of consistency and seemingly discriminatory manner in which penalties were meted out by race stewards – particularly those handed out to McLaren-Mercedes' new world champion Lewis Hamilton for his overtaking move on Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen in the closing laps of the Belgian Grand Prix, and to Scuderia Toro Rosso ace Sébastien Bourdais, who most deemed to be blameless in his collision with Felipe Massa in the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway. The Brazilian – in the vast majority of observers' eyes the culpable party – escaped punishment in the incident.
“I was very disappointed with some of the calls the stewards made and the composition of the stewards,” confessed Walker, who commentated on the top flight for both the BBC
for almost three decades. “I feel there is a great need for a greater continuity of the stewards in Formula 1 and for them to be more knowledgeable about what things are like in actual racing conditions.
“The FIA have taken action to try to overcome the problems that people like me have about the stewards, though, and you can always cynically say that any publicity is good publicity. Overall, I don't think the sport has suffered at all.”
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