Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Square balls and round pitches - A new setup for Formula One stewarding

Published by Mr. C

If the FIA ran football, so the saying goes, we'd have square balls and round pitches.

Yesterday's announcement regarding the FIA's revised plans for Formula One race stewards didn't come as much of a surprise, given that highlighted the expected change over a week ago.

The new plan is to bring three random stewards to each race, plus Max's right hand man, Alan Donnelly. Last year's permanent steward Tony Scott Andrews has stepped down from his role, so the consistency that a regular face brought to the table has now been nullified.

Strangely this new structure is supposed to speed up the decision making process, although one fails to see how it could? A cynic might suggest that the introduction of Donnelly is just another way for Max to exert yet more control over the sport.

As points out, Donnelly isn't exactly a model of impartiality either. His company Sovereign Strategy currently list Formula One Management Ltd as a client. It's not hard to imagine the sport's commercial interests being taken into consideration when looking at future rule infringements. Would last year's embarrassing 'cool fuel' episode have gone as far as it did if Donnelly had any say in the matter?

Of further interest a quick perusal through the Internet Archive, sees Sovereign Strategy at one time listing Ferrari as a previous client:

Screenshot of Sovereign Strategy website listing Ferrari as a client

It's not clear when the Italian manufacturer was removed from the client list (the archive displays the page as recently as June 2007), but one could speculate it was probably very recently. One also wonders whether the Scuderia have completely severed ties with Sovereign, and what bearing that may have on future 'difficult' decisions?

Ollie rightly wonders how any of this speeds up the process? The fact is, a problem any F1 steward faces, is that Formula 1 rules are not properly documented and are therefore open to all manner of interpretation by all manner of individuals.

Until that situation is rectified, everything else will just be a band aid over an ever expanding wound.

Square balls indeed.