Dumb Penalties Don't Make a Sport

Andrew FletcherCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2009

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 26:  Fernando Alonso of Spain and Renault drives during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 26, 2009 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Formula One (F1) Racing is clearly my favorite sport to watch and the excitement has definitely picked up in the last few seasons.

Yet, I have some beef with some of the individuals who are in charge managing the rules during the races.

Yes, the F1 stewards have started to get on my nerves with their odd and sometimes awful decisions.

As the viewers saw during the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Renault F1 team did not attach the right-front wheel properly to Fernando Alonso's car during his first pit stop and in the following lap it subsequently came off.

After the race concluded, the race stewards got together and decided to hand Renault a one race suspension for their actions.

Okay, yes I do understand Renault getting a penalty, especially after the Felipe Massa incident during qualifying. Yet most viewers would understand if Renault received a fine or a grid penalty for the next race.

Not a one-race suspension.

This shows that the currently system of stewards that the FIA is applying is flawed.

Currently, the system is that there are three stewards that designated for each event.

Two of the individuals are from the FIA and the other steward is a local and these three individuals differ from one event to the other.

What the FIA need to do is hire a panel stewards that does not change from race to race in order to get consistent results.

There have been many other times in the last several years, where the stewards have made ridiculous decisions and sometimes it has had championship implications.

Here's a quick list of weird and unusual penalties in the last few years:

1. 2009 German GP = Mark Webber gets a drive through penalty for causing a collision at the start of the race, which saw no cars retire from the race along with the fact that the man he hit (Rubens Barrichello) took the lead after the first corner.

2. 2008 Japanese GP = Sebastian Bourdais gets a 25 second penalty after the race for spinning out Massa, even though it was Massa being too aggressive and impatient on cold tires as he came out of the pit lane.

3. 2007 Hungarian GP = McLaren Mercedes was not allowed to collect constructors championship points after Alonso took his time exciting the pit lane and stopped Lewis Hamilton from having time to set one more flying lap. This should be up to the team to take disciplinary action, not for the race stewards to get involved.

4. 2006 Italian GP = Alonso is given a five place grid penalty for "blocking" Massa in qualifying, even though he was flying around the track in order to have time to run another flying lap before the session ended.

5. 1994 British GP = Michael Schumacher passes Damon Hill on the parade lap. The race stewards decide to DQ him, even though he gave it back and it was like he was going to move into the pole position for the start of the race.

In order to avoid mistakes like this, the FIA needs to implement permanent race stewards in order to have fair race judgement for every Grand Prix in the season.


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