Alpine’s Fernando Alonso has conceded that the stewarding in Formula 1 this year has not been as consistent as he would have liked, but believes that FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem can mend the situation.
Ben Sulayem confirmed changes to race control over the winter following the removal of now former race director Michael Masi amid the controversial season finale in Abu Dhabi last year.
Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas are taking turns to preside over the race this season, with support coming their way via deputy Herbie Blash and a virtual control room.
However, criticism has been aimed in the direction of the governing body for a variety of different reasons throughout the opening eight rounds of 2022.
Ben Sulayem has insisted on a clampdown on jewellery being worn in the cars, with Sir Lewis Hamilton pushing back against the regulation that was introduced in 2005 – two years before he entered the pinnacle of motorsport in 2007.
Alonso himself was fuming at the stewards in Miami when he was penalised for leaving the track and gaining an advantage but, when he went to the stewards’ room to show them evidence that he had rescinded the advantage he gained, they had already packed up and left.
It was clarified to the Spaniard that he had created a gap to Mick Schumacher as a result, leaving him vulnerable to Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel behind, and the collision between the two Germans put them both out of the points.
That was not all. There was next to no communication during the rain delay in Monaco before the race finally got going, and the “need to improve communications” in race control has evidently not been cured yet after this was found to be a key factor in Masi’s controversial decision at the end of last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Despite all of that, Wittich and Freitas do seem to have been very clear on track limits and race incidents, and Alonso has faith that ben Sulayem, who was elected in December to replace the departing Jean Todt, can make the necessary changes.
“I have full trust in the FIA president,” said the double world champion.
“At the moment, things are maybe a little rough and we have seen a few things where they have not been as consistent as we would wish for or as we ask for.
“There is room to improve, yes, but I have full trust in the FIA president and he will fix the things that need to be fixed.”
Ferrari were confused as to why Williams were not penalised in Monaco after Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi held up Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon respectively.
Earlier in the weekend though, the Scuderia were fined and Sainz given a reprimand for holding up Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in practice, so Leclerc agrees that the stewarding needs polishing.
“Speaking on the sporting side, I think I would want a bit more consistency and this is where we need to improve,” he added.
“Whether it will improve or not I don’t know. As Fernando said, there is room for improvement, we just need to make things better.”
Ben Sulayem has not ruled out the possibility of Masi one day making a return after he asserted his desire to have three race directors in F1.