THREE-TIME Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart has launched a stinging attack on motor racing’s governing body the FIA, saying that it needs to change to boost the sport’s credibility.
Stewart’s outburst follows the uncertainty over Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel’s narrow championship victory over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso at last year’s season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
Vettel was eventually cleared of wrongdoing, having appeared to have overtaken illegally, but only after a shadow had been cast over the German’s third consecutive title triumph.
Stewart said: “Was the judgement of yellow and green flags right or wrong in Brazil and why would that have to come up on a Wednesday or Thursday? That is a huge statement of a disorganised function that it should come up then. The whole world is celebrating a new world champion and then that happens on a Wednesday. That is a poor declaration of management.”
An FIA spokesman insisted: “It was not a lack of management as there was no case to answer. Race control did not refer this to stewards because it was not deemed to be an incident.”
Stewart puts the confusion down to the lack of the same stewards at every race – a situation in place since 2008, when lone authority Tony Scott Andrews stepped down and was replaced by multiple officials.
“How can you possibly have four different stewards at every Grand Prix? Why have you not got one professional?” said Stewart, who called for “one man who goes to every race who is going to make consistent judgements and has got authority”.
The addition of a former driver to the line-up is one of the decisions which has been driven by FIA president Jean Todt who took over from his controversial predecessor Max Mosley in 2009.
“I am surprised how silent Todt has been,” said Stewart. “I expected him to have more presence. I don’t know whether he’s biding his time. I don’t think he is by any means not smart so there must be a reason.”