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.