The FIA World Motor Sport Council made some important changes yesterday to the way stewards decisions are reached and explained to the public. This year, like previous years there were some big calls by the stewards which had an effect on the outcome of the world championship; I’m thinking in particular of the penalty Lewis Hamilton got in Spa and the one Sebastien Bourdais received in for colliding with Felipe Massa in Fuji.
One of the problems with these decisions is that they were not fully explained to the public and so many people arrived at the conclusion that there was some sort of ‘fix’ going on. Now the WMSC has approved a report by Alan Donnelly, who was the convener of the stewards this year, which makes some important recommendations. First the FIA will harness new technology to allow video replays to be analysed more quickly, so decisions can be made and penalties served, during the race. As multiple TV and CCTV pictures are generally the only means of judging an incident, the stewards need to have the best equipement available and now it seems they will have. Also, crucially, where an incident has been judged using video footage unseen by the public, this footage will now be made public on the FIA and FOM websites, together with the explanation. This is a great development and a real coup for transparency. It’s been forced on them really, by the rise of new media, in particular You Tube. It is in Bernie Ecclestone’s interest and that of the FIA, that any such footage remains in their control, not You Tube’s. [ more ]