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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.

Holmatro, INDYCAR renew partnership in five-year extension

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Holmatro, a long-time partner of INDYCAR and title sponsor of the Holmatro Safety Team, have renewed a long-standing partnership that will see Holmatro and INDYCAR continue their partnership in a five-year contract extension.

“Holmatro has been a trusted partner and supplier in Indy car racing for more than 20 years,” said president of competition and operations Jay Frye. “Holmatro’s growth parallels some of the great strides made in safety for INDYCAR drivers and teams. We’re pleased to see this partnership continue, as it is a great benefit to everyone in the paddock.”

Holmatro’s relationship with INDYCAR dates back to 1991, when they first supplied tools to the safety team of the CART sanctioned PPG IndyCar World Series. Holmatro branding will continue to be featured on the firesuits, vehicles, and transporters of INDYCAR’s safety team throughout the agreement.

“Holmatro is extremely pleased to extend our partnership with INDYCAR for another five years,” said Tony Barboza, general manager for Holmatro. “We’re extremely proud to be affiliated with the premier on-track safety team in the world. Members of the safety team serve on their home fire departments when not at INDYCAR events and, like them, we believe in constant improvement and innovation. When the race is for life, you can count on the INDYCAR Safety Team and Holmatro rescue tools.”

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