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Verstappen would welcome F1 moving to fixed steward panel

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Max Verstappen would welcome Formula 1’s move to a permanent steward panel, rather than its current system of having a rotation of three stewards per each Grand Prix weekend.

Verstappen’s fellow Dutch countryman Arie Luyendyk, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion and still the speed record holder at Indianapolis Motor Speedway over both one and four laps, serves as one of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ full-time three stewards, having completed its second season. He serves alongside Dan Davis and Max Papis, with Brian Barnhart running the race as Race Director.

INDYCAR Race Control had been a sore subject in past years but the last two years with the consistent, same panel has reduced controversy and confusion when it comes to officiating, rather than leaving it a lottery depending on the stewards at a weekend.

Speaking to GPUpdate.net, Luyendyk said, “You need a fixed panel. During a Grand Prix weekend there is no time to be creative with rules and penalties. Just put a few guys in that spot who will be there every weekend, who will get to know the characters of the drivers better, which makes it a lot easier to judge.”

Verstappen, who was at the SEMA automotive show in Las Vegas this week along with Red Bull official lubricant partner ExxonMobil, echoed Luyendyk’s comments.

“I think at the end of the day, yes, it would be better,” Verstappen told NBC Sports.

“At least then, (with) the stewards … you know who you’re working with. They start to understand the driver a bit better because you share more times together, more races together.

“I honestly think we have to head into that direction.”

Verstappen’s drawn the short stick of two post-race time penalties at the 2016 Mexican and 2017 United States Grands Prix, both for track limit infractions.

While Verstappen was correctly judged to have been outside Circuit of The Americas’ white line of demarcation when he made the pass for third place on Kimi Raikkonen that ultimately did not stand, where the controversy arose afterwards was over the inconsistency in officiating or regulating other drivers who also left the track and gained an advantage.

F1 has relied on the rotating steward panel, with Verstappen having cited an issue with one particular member of the panel (Garry Connolly) for assessing several penalties to him. F1 also uses at least one ex-driver as a steward per weekend. This was Mika Salo in Austin and was most recently Tom Kristensen at Mexico City.

IndyCar star Scott Dixon to test skills on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Scott Dixon will be the latest IndyCar driver to enter the realm of reality TV when he auditions in Indianapolis next week for “American Ninja Warrior.”

The four-time IndyCar champion, nicknamed “The Iceman,” thought it sounded fun when he was approached with the idea of trying out. As the competition has drawn near, Dixon is wondering what he got himself into.

“I feel a lot of pressure on this one,” Dixon told The Associated Press before heading to this weekend’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. “When it got to be about a month away, I figured I should start training for it, and it’s pretty hard stuff.”

IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan all auditioned for the show, which follows competitors as they tackle a series of obstacle courses in qualifying rounds across the country. None of IndyCar’s contestants advanced out of the first round and neither did NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Dixon’s appearance comes about the same time the Game Show Network has Sebastien Bourdais as a guest host for “Daily Draw” for the entire week leading into the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Most recently, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly teamed to finish fourth on “The Amazing Race,” and James Hinchcliffe was a runner-up last year on “Dancing With The Stars.” Castroneves is a former “DWTS” winner.

Dixon, the 2008 winner of the Indianapolis 500 who ranks fourth on IndyCar’s all-time wins list, is accustomed to success. But the New Zealander not so sure he’s going to become the next great ninja. Most of his fitness work focuses on endurance training, and preparing for the obstacle course has taken Dixon out of his element.

“It’s not my wheelhouse,” he said. “This is agility kind of stuff and I’m looking forward to the process. I’m not looking forward so much to the failure, because it’s going to happen at some point, so I guess I just have to make the most of it and enjoy the experience.”

Dixon was famously robbed at gunpoint in the drive-thru of a Taco Bell last year hours after he won the pole for the Indy 500. Asked if his ninja training will have him better prepared should that happen again, he did not think so.

“I suppose if I run away it would help,” Dixon said. “But I don’t exactly have a ninja toolkit to get me through that situation.”