JULY 27, 2002
FIA Stewards punish charisma
The FIA Stewards have long been the perpetrators of bizarre decisions but at Hockenheim they excelled themselves once again by fining Formula 3000 race winner Giorgio Pantano for celebrating his victory by performing "doughnuts" after the finish in the run-off area at the second corner. This was considered to endanger marshals and fellow drivers. The Italian was fined a total of $800.
This should guarantee that no drivers in future bother to celebrate their victories. One can only wonder in future whether the stewards will punish drivers for taking a hand off the steering wheel to wave at the crowd - as this too might be considered to be dangerous.
In an age where motor racing is losing market share against other sports and indeed sport as a whole is struggling to compete with other activities, shows of charisma and character should perhaps be looked upon in a different light. Already too many racing drivers have been lobotomized by their contracts and are unwilling to say anything even vaguely interesting and punishing displays of emotion is possibly not the way to make the sport more interesting.
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