AUGUST 3, 1998

...but the stewards get the axe

THE three FIA stewards at the British Grand Prix - India's Nazir Hoosein, Canada's Roger Peart and Britain's HowardÊLapsley - went before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Council in Patis and "voluntarily" handed in the licences which give them the right to be Formula 1 stewards.

The three stewards, F1 race director Charlie Whiting and his deputy Herbie Blash all gave evidence to the World Council which concluded that the stewards had made several important mistakes, including applying the wrong rule to the situation and failing to communicate their decision as laid down in the regulations. The stewards accepted the blame and gave up their licences. The FIA World Council tried to cushion the blow by noting that at the time the stewards had been under "considerable stress" because of the extreme weather conditions. We would not be surprised if Hoosein were to reappear as an F1 steward next year - once all the fuss has died down - as he is an important figure in FIA politics, as head of one of the FIA's regional organizations, an FIA Vice-President and (normally) a member of the World Council.

It was agreed that the Formula 1 Commission would study the relevant regulations and propose changes to avoid a repetition of such errors in the future. In future the stewards will only act on a written report from the race director which states the time, lap and circumstances of an incident. The race director will then be responsible for informing the teams and ensuring that the stewards' decision be displayed on the timing monitors.