Formula One has always had its fair share of issues, but now one area in particular threatens the sport over the rest: the stewards.
In every sport that is as large and as complex as Formula One there are bound to be problems. Whether it’s ease of accessibility, funding distribution, or performance gaps between the individual teams that lead to too much staggering, there are more than enough plates to keep spinning all the while. However, there is one issue in particular that has been quietly bubbling under the surface for the 2017 season, and it continues to be the one that seemingly plagues the entire world of sports entertainment: the stewards.
In theory, race control should serve the singular purpose of ensuring that races continue in an uninterrupted fashion, and that overzealous, aggressive, and conniving drivers should be reprimanded for their transgressions. Unfortunately, the lofty role they should aspire to often turns to a habitual micromanaging and improper calls during on-track incidents. The most recent of such being the double-penalty imposed upon Red Bull Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.
Kvyat felt thunder strike twice during his stint at the 2017 Canadian Grand Prix. The young Russian driver was penalized for regaining his 11th position on the starting grid after a failed start on the formation lap, and was subsequently hit with a drive-through pit-lane penalty which Daniil took – but was then forced to take another 10-second stop and go penalty which the stewards claim should have been the penalty Kvyat received initially. Daniil was not happy, to say the least:
“They have a job to do which is not so difficult in my opinion and they cannot do the job properly. They were clearly sleeping today in their office, so maybe they needed some coffee there. They should cancel this stupid rule. Who is this rule for? Are we taxi drivers here or Formula 1 drivers?
I don’t understand this. It’s a circus, a stupid f****** circus. I will go and talk to Charlie [Whiting, Race Director]. It’s annoying me, it’s really annoying me. A simple job, and he can’t even do that job properly.
Maybe it’s better to go in the back room because now the heat is up for me I will not want to say anything wrong to any of them and I’m not really sure it’s Charlie.
I want to understand first of all who does this job. All I know is our team manager was for 10 laps arguing with the FIA that we shouldn’t get another additional penalty and they said ‘no, sorry, we have this’.” – Daniil Kvyat
Kvyat’s umbrage with Charlie Whiting and his crack team of race stewards is wholly justified. To misconstrue the proper penalty that should be issued is one thing, but to further penalize a driver who had complied with his awarded penalty because of race control’s error is abhorrent and unacceptable. It’s hard to tell just what was going through Whiting and Co.’s mind when the call came over the radio, but whatever it was, it has no place in the world of Formula One.