Of all the areas within F1 which arouse controversy and debate, perhaps none is as central as the penalties handed out – or not – by the FIA race stewards.
The stewards are charged with assessing on track misdemeanours and punishing drivers accordingly; Grosjean, Maldonado, Hamilton, Petrov and others have all been on the receiving end of penalties in recent years.
But today the FIA has released some details of how those decisions are reached. An extract from a fascinating article in the FIA’s new AUTO magazine, sheds light on what the Federation calls “cyber stewarding”.
Fans expect the stewards to be able to view video footage of incidents, when making their decisions on which driver is at fault. But the technology at their disposal today goes far further than that, as the FIA’s chair of stewards Gary Connelly explains,
“First of all, we have all the video feeds — the pictures that have gone to air; the vision captured by FOM Communication TV system but which hasn’t been put to air; the closed circuit cameras around the track, and all the onboard material as well,” he says. “We have GPS tracking, which shows where cars are at any given time.
“We also have access to all the team radio transmissions, which are very important as they allow us to know if a team has warned a driver that he’s about to impede another car and whether a driver has ignored that information,” Connelly continued. “Finally, as of this summer, we can now obtain real-time telemetry from the cars. That’s really useful as we can overlay telemetry information from an incident with data from previous laps, so for example, we can tell if a driver has done something like failing to back of under yellow flags.
“Linking all this together you can come up with a complete picture of what’s going on. You have a mass of information that isn’t available to the public or the teams. That’s why decisions are sometimes taken that people have trouble understanding, but they simply don’t have all the information the Stewards do.”
FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting adds that in an effort to ensure consistency of decisions, all the incidents from recent seasons are kept on hard drives so that stewards can refer to them with repeat offenders or refer to precedents when deciding on penalties.
You can read the whole article here – http://www.fia.com/news/cyber-stewarding
*The FIA announced today that McLaren has become the first F1 team to be awarded the FIA Institute’s Environmental Award for the Achievement of Excellence. The award is part of a broader initiative between the FIA and the FIA Institute aimed at evaluating and reducing the environmental impact of motor sport. It is also the highest level attainable within the FIA Institute Sustainability Programme, which helps motor sport stakeholders to measure, improve and be recognised for their environmental performance.
FIA’s work on sustainability in motor sport focuses on these key areas: carbon footprint, human footprint, water footprint, ecosystems quality, natural resources and human health. This assessment will form the basis of the FIA’s environmental strategy across all areas of motor sport.