hidden agenda in F1 stewards' decision, says Brawn
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[June 11, 2019]
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One could be
more transparent about stewards' decisions but there was no hidden
agenda behind the penalty that cost Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel
victory in Canada, the sport's managing director Ross Brawn said on
Vettel was punished after making a mistake in Sunday's race in
Montreal while under pressure from Mercedes' championship leader
Lewis Hamilton, who finished second but was declared winner.
Brawn recognized that the five second penalty added to Vettel's time
after the race had triggered a lot of debate.
"I have a lot of respect for the work of the stewards and for their
professionalism, and I believe they would be the first to say that
they would prefer not to see a race outcome decided via a penalty,"
he said in a review of the weekend.
"At the same time, I understand how difficult it must be for fans to
understand why the driver on the top step of the podium is not the
one who crossed the finish line first," added the Briton.
"That's why transparency is important when it comes to explaining
the decisions of the stewards, especially in such a complex sport as
Brawn, a title-winning former Ferrari technical director and
ex-Mercedes team principal, suggested working with the governing FIA
to find a way for stewards to explain their decisions to the fans
and how they reached them.
Five stewards review and decide on incidents during races, reviewing
an array of data and video evidence in a very tight time frame.
They are also aiming to be consistent with previous decisions.
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Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn walks at the
Shanghai International Circuit ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix.
While Sunday's penalty triggered an outcry that the officials had
wrecked a thrilling battle between Vettel and Hamilton, it was
recognized by others that they had applied the letter of the law.
Whether the rules are fit for purpose, and how much discretion the
stewards should have exercised, was another debate.
Brawn said he would not comment on the decision, given his position
and Ferrari's stated intention to appeal, but fans could be assured
that it had been taken impartially.
"There is nothing sinister about a decision like this. You might
agree with it or not, but none of those who take on the role of
steward each weekend has a hidden agenda, and fans can be certain of
that," he said.
Mercedes have won the first seven rounds of the season and are
running away with both championships while Ferrari have not won
since the U.S. Grand Prix in October last year -- a 10-race drought.
Brawn hailed Vettel as the "star of the weekend" and could
understand the four times champion's disappointment and frustration.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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