Disillusioned Jones reconsidering F1 stewards role

Alan Jones

Alan Jones is reconsidering his position among the panel of ex-racers who assist Formula 1’s judicial process.

Stewards have featured prominently during the 2019 season, most evidently at the Canadian Grand Prix where Sebastian Vettel lost victory after a time penalty was added to his race.

In that instance Emanuele Pirro was the ex-driver on the stewards panel, but it’s a position Jones himself has filled a number of times.

However, disillusioned with the direction the sport is taking, the Australian is considering whether he wants to continue in the role.

“At the end of the day I’m a little bit, shall we say, disillusioned with Formula 1 at the moment, to the extent where I’m seriously thinking of relinquishing my stewardship,” the 1980 world champion told Speedcafe.com.

“I wholeheartedly disagree with a lot of the ways or the directions that they’re going, and obviously you can’t shit-can them or criticise them if you’re an employee of them, so if I’m an FIA steward, I can hardly turn around and get stuck into them.”

The rejoin for which Sebastian Vettel was penalised in Canada

The 72-year-old also believes that the regulations are too prescriptive when incidents are referred to the stewards for investigations, and don’t afford them the ability to use their own judgement.

“They hand out a book, which is the steward’s book, and page five, paragraph three, line four says that if the battery lead falls off, this is the penalty that will be handed out,” he reasoned.

“The steward should be there to have a certain amount of discretion, and at the end of the day, why have an ex-driver in the steward’s room if you can’t say to them, ‘No, I honestly believe that was a racing accident’, or whatever?

“I don’t think that it should all be down to a manual.”

The 12-time grand prix winner is also critical of the way penalties are handed out to drivers when they suffer a mechanical issue, suggesting instead it should be the team which is penalised.

“If you have a mechanical problem, I think the manufacturer should be the one that suffers and is penalised,” Jones reasoned.

“Don’t forget they derive a lot of their money from the share of the TV stake, and what percentage of that share is dependent on how many points they’ve got in the championship.

“So if they’ve got points taken away from them for infringing the silly mechanical rules, well so be it. They’re the ones who suffer, not the driver, and more importantly, not the spectator who’s paid to go and see the race.”

The ex-driver steward is drawn from a list of names available to the FIA, which includes the likes of Derek Daly, Tom Kristensen, Mika Salo, and Derek Warwick.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix the role was performed by Danny Sullivan, with six other former drivers having filled the role in the opening 12 races of the 2019 season.

Jones has not filled a role within the race stewards since the start of 2018.

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