Mat Coch writes:
Racer turned commentator David Coulthard has waded in to the debate over Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa's coming together during last weekend's Indian Grand Prix. The pair collided on lap 24 when Hamilton attempted to pass the Ferrari driver, the stewards subsequently penalising Massa for the incident.
Johnny Herbert, the driver steward at the weekend, has given his explanation of the thinking behind Massa's penalty, stating that; "after looking at it from different camera angles and studying all the data available to us, it was clear that Massa knew where Hamilton was before he chose to turn across him."
Coulthard however, doesn't share Herbert's opinion. "I simply can't understand how Felipe could have been deemed the guilty party," writes Coulthard in the Telegraph. "As drivers we are always taught that the car behind is responsible so to my mind the stewards misinterpreted what happened.
"If Lewis had got that far up alongside Felipe into a tight hairpin, where the braking zone is maybe 100 metres and lasts for a few seconds, then I think Massa would have been right to give way. But heading into a fourth gear left-hander at maybe 150-160km/h? Where the braking zone lasts for one second? I don't think Massa can be held responsible," said the Scot, an ambassador for the Red Bull brand.
The former Williams and McLaren race winner went on to suggest that the stewards have been inconsistent in their rulings. "Making these types of calls is one of the real difficulties with a complex sport like Formula One, but it was almost as if they felt that - with Lewis receiving so many decisions against him this year - they were trying to redress the balance. A bit like in football when a referee sends someone off in controversial circumstances and the crowd is on his back, he is more disposed to send a player from the opposition off."
Previous criticism of the stewards has led to a former driver being appointed as an advisor to provide the FIA appointed staff a drivers eye view. The general consensus is the application of the rules and the penalties delivered are far more consistent and balanced than ever before. Former Lotus and Benetton driver Herbert was the appointed driver advisor last weekend.