Freitas is a ‘strict guy, rules are rules with him’

Mark Scott
Eduardo Freitas is new joint-F1 race director.

Eduardo Freitas is new joint-F1 race director.

Ex-F1 racer Giedo van der Garde has warned new race director Eduardo Freitas is very strict when it comes to implementing the rules and regulations.

Freitas, who has over 20 years of experience as a race director, has been named as one of two replacements for Michael Masi, who ultimately lost his job following his controversial decision-making at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that led to Max Verstappen winning the World Championship in the most dramatic of circumstances.

The World Endurance Championship race director will alternate with former DTM race director Niels Wittich as part of a new-look set-up announced by the FIA in the wake of the events at the Yas Marina circuit.

Freitas and Wittich will be supported by Charlie Whiting’s former right-hand man in Herbie Blash, while support will also come via a panel of video assistants in a format not too dissimilar to the one used in football with their VAR system.

Van der Garde has experience of racing in series which were overseen by Freitas, namely ELMS and the WEC classes with Racing Team Nederland, and it appears we can expect some tough stewarding.

“Freitas? He’s a good race director,” Van der Garde said, as quoted by GPFans NL.

“I have known him for a few years. He is a strict guy, rules are rules with him. If you don’t follow them, with him you just get a penalty!”

But it is not just about the two figureheads at the top of the new Formula 1 stewarding system, according to Van de Garde, who also highlighted the need for ex-racers to be a part of the support structure and offer their unique point of view.

“I think it is also important who will work with him internally at the FIA, who will be his right or left hand,” Van der Garde.

“I think it is important that there is an ex-driver who will be looking on. Especially with the racing incidents, who did what wrong and who did something wrong.

“A racer looks at things differently than a race director who may have driven a bit, but it was not his job. There has to be a very good combination in there.

“They just need to pick one, two or three drivers every year that they can rotate with. They then have to give their opinion on what is happening on the circuits.”

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