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"Disillusioned" Jones ponders withdrawing as race steward

NEWS STORY
23/08/2019

Very much one of the old school, elbows out, style of racing, 1980 world champion, Alan Jones, admits to having serious doubts as to whether he can continue as a race steward.

The Australian, who began his F1 career in a privately entered Hesketh, and who subsequently drove for Hill, Surtees, Shadow, Williams, Arrows and Haas, admits to being "disillusioned" with the current penalty system.

"At the end of the day I'm a little bit, shall we say, disillusioned with Formula 1 at the moment," he tells Speedcafe.com, "to the extent where I'm seriously thinking of relinquishing my stewardship.

"I wholeheartedly disagree with a lot of the ways or the directions that they're going," he adds, "and obviously you can't shit-can them or criticise them if you're an employee of them, so if I'm an FIA steward, I can hardly turn around and get stuck into them."

The Australian's comments come at a time race stewards have made a number of controversial decisions which have led to claims of inconsistency and bias.

Jones claims that stewards are prevented from using their own judgement, which kind of defeats the purpose when it comes to driver stewards.

"They hand out a book, which is the steward's book, and page five, paragraph three, line four says that if the battery lead falls off, this is the penalty that will be handed out," says the Australian.

"The steward should be there to have a certain amount of discretion, and at the end of the day, why have an ex-driver in the steward's room if you can't say to them, 'No, I honestly believe that was a racing accident', or whatever? I don't think that it should all be down to a manual."

Jones also questions why penalties are handed to drivers for problems that are a team issue.

"If you have a mechanical problem, I think the manufacturer should be the one that suffers and is penalised," he says. "Don't forget they derive a lot of their money from the share of the TV stake, and what percentage of that share is dependent on how many points they've got in the championship.

"So if they've got points taken away from them for infringing the silly mechanical rules, well so be it. They're the ones who suffer, not the driver, and more importantly, not the spectator who's paid to go and see the race."

Unsurprisingly, Jones' services as a steward have not been called upon since early 2018, the FIA preferring to draw from a pool of driver stewards that includes Emanuele Pirro, who was on duty at this year's controversial Canadian Grand Prix, Danny Sullivan, Derek Daly, Tom Kristensen, Mika Salo, and Derek Warwick.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 28/08/2019 13:37

"Agree 100% that there is a need to separate the 'Driver' penalties from those made against the Team. Its a bit hard however figuring-out a fair methodology, other than deducting points from the team.

As to penalties against drivers we return to the old chestnut of 'Rules is Rules'. The most obvious recent example was Vettel's move against Hamilton (as per the picture). This required some 'judgement' by Stewards, and whatever their decision it would have disappointed many people. For UK readers think 'Brexit'!
However the crux is that the move needed to be scrutinised as it was potentially in breach of the rules. Even BTTC is cracking-down on deliberate 'nudging' to gain advantage....."

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2. Posted by jcr, 26/08/2019 20:22

"best comment in years. from a true racer."

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3. Posted by nonickname, 26/08/2019 16:33

"Definition of all aspects of F1 management is oxymoron. "

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4. Posted by NVexplorer, 25/08/2019 21:12

"The current FIA management team has lost the thread, and is destroying the spot we all love. May this period of insanity pass quickly, and hopefully the future management of F1 have the intelligence and fortitude to nurture the sport for the fans and the racers."

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5. Posted by Hannes, 23/08/2019 21:35

"I'm much more comfortable with a rule written down in a rulebook that doesn't change between races. Isn't that better than relying on a steward, or more likely different stewards, to judge incidents based on their opinion that Sunday afternoon?"

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6. Posted by Anthony, 23/08/2019 19:56

"I also agree with Alan"

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7. Posted by HoosierDaddy, 23/08/2019 19:17

"I agree about not penalizing drivers for infractions by the team provided the team infraction did NOT give an advantage to the driver. If team income is primarily from championship standings, take team points instead.

I don't know if a team would ever take a big hit in team championship standings to help a driver but have some way to discourage that. "

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8. Posted by SteveAikens, 23/08/2019 10:45

"I agree with Jones. I've been an F1 fan since the 1970's when I was stationed in Germany, travelling to all the tracks there, in France & Belgium. Far too often in the past couple years, IMO, there have been far too many "questionable" penalties handed down. Controlling the safety of the sport is one thing, reaching the point of being overbearing is something entirely different. I think there has to be a point where a "nit" shouldn't be picked."

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9. Posted by Greg, 23/08/2019 9:54

"Must say i agree with Alan"

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