F1 team bosses reflect on how the FIA Race Director is doing at the moment with their decisions so far in the three races.
With Michael Masi gone, the FIA welcomed Neils Wittich and Eduardo Freitas as the new race directors for F1. So far in the three rounds, only the former has officiated with the latter yet to visit the races. He was present in Bahrain for the pre-season test.
In the three rounds so far, lots of decisions has been taken by Wittich. On track limits side, the discussions have been less after he noted about the white line being the marker. But with tracks like Jeddah and Albert Park on display, track limits wasn’t an issue.
The biggest talking point came through in Australia when the FIA noted about jewellery and underwear of the F1 drivers. It asked them not to wear any type of jewellery during the sessions, while for the underwear it stated to wear a special fire proof one.
Apart from these, reprimands for impeding has increased a bit which has upset the F1 drivers especially for things done during practice. Here’s what selected team bosses said regarding what they feel on how they are working:
Horner: “I certainly won’t be checking our drivers underwear for compliance. I see that as a team manager role although I’m reliably informed that our drivers go commando, so hopefully, it won’t be an issue for them. But I’ve yet to meet the race director. Obviously, they’re doing the best job they can with the rules that they have. But yeah, I understand it was an entertaining drivers’ briefing in Australia but in the interests of weight saving, whether you’re losing jewellery or underwear at the moment is quite helpful for us.
“Regarding the reprimands, I think it’s actually something that the drivers actually requested. But I think, again, there needs to be an element of common sense. Too many penalties in the practice one is… the biggest thing, I think, as a deterrent for the drivers, is a fine. That tends to be what hurts them the most so maybe we should look at fines rather than reprimands and potential grid penalties. But yeah, you don’t want to be too overzealous, I wouldn’t think in FP1 on a circuit that’s relatively new and so on. But as I say, it’s something that gets discussed at great length in the various meetings, but I think we just need to come up with and simplify some of these regulations.”
Seidl: “Yeah, in the end, we want race directors and stewards to apply and enforce the rules that are in place in a consistent way. And I think so far everything I’ve seen from Niels and Eduardo, that’s what they are doing. So I think both had a good start into this season together with us teams and drivers. I’ve worked with Eduardo before and with Niels in a very good and constructive way. I think we appreciate a lot the open dialogue we’re having also with them going into this season, and therefore I’m very happy with the current situation.
Tost: “Race directors are new, they their benchmark. They applied 100% the rules. We know it, the drivers know it. And then you have to deal with this and if in FP1 or FP2 you are not allowed to impede anyone because you get a reprimand then you have to accept this and do it in a way that you don’t come into trouble. It’s how it is and they apply the regulations and that’s it.”
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