NOVEMBER 10, 2016
F1 penalty controversy to race on in Brazil
The controversy about penalties in F1 will keep racing into this weekend's Brazilian grand prix.
After being verbally abused by Sebastian Vettel in Mexico, F1 race director Charlie Whiting will join the German driver in Thursday's FIA press conference.
It is an unusual step for the governing body, after the Ferrari driver also lashed out on the radio at Max Verstappen's driving. Dutchman Verstappen will also be at the press conference.
The FIA said Whiting will be there to "talk about" what happened in Mexico.
But it is actually a wider issue, with many drivers unhappy about how penalties are being given out by the stewards at grands prix.
"When my family watches the races on television they don't understand the penalties," Carlos Sainz told the Spanish sports newspaper Marca on Wednesday.
"They do not understand why one driver is penalised while another is not. I think there should be fewer or less strict rules because no driver, no fan is happy with how the decisions are being made."
1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks the current system of stewards is the main problem.
He said that in his heyday, the issue of driver discipline was largely left up to the drivers themselves.
"There was the fear of being penalised," he told www.Minute-Auto.fr, "but it only happened when we did something extremely dangerous.
"Before, when a driver blocked another driver, he was blocked in the next session. Suddenly, no one is blocking anyone because making enemies makes things difficult for yourself.
"As a driver then, it would have been a nightmare for Verstappen," said the French Canadian.
Villeneuve thinks F1's stewarding system, with a former driver nominated to join the regular stewards at each race, is wrong.
"The guest driver is a very bad thing," he said.
"The model used in MotoGP is much smarter as they found a former driver (Capirossi) who is paid to do a specific job. So there is no need for him to play politics and make friends," Villeneuve explained.