F1 drivers miss crunch FIA meeting over strange stewards’ decisions – report

Oliver Harden
Red Bull's Max Verstappen holds onto the lead at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen holds onto the lead at the start of the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.

Only eight of the 20 drivers turned up to a crunch meeting with the FIA in Mexico over the consistency and transparency of the stewards’ decisions, it has been claimed.

The inconsistency of the stewards has been heavily criticised by the drivers in 2023, with affairs including Lando Norris’s five-second time penalty for “unsportsmanlike behaviour” at the Canadian Grand Prix in June raising eyebrows.

Norris was penalised for slowing under Safety Car conditions to avoid queuing for a pit stop behind McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc said to have escaped punishment for a similar offence in Singapore last month.

FIA’s attempt to reach out to frustrated F1 drivers goes ignored

Unpunished track limits violations and even collisions between drivers on track – including Sergio Perez’s contact with Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen in consecutive races in Singapore and Japan – have also come under the microscope.

According to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, in an effort to address the drivers’ concerns the FIA’s Garry Connelly invited all 20 drivers and team representatives to a summit meeting on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix – but was left shocked when only eight turned up.

The report claims that the FIA is “striving for transparency” and more appropriate punishments for offenders with drivers heavily critical of certain decisions in the media.

The governing body is considering introducing tougher penalties for more serious incidents, with time penalties of 10 and 20 seconds said to be under consideration as well as so-called “place penalties.”

It is unclear whether these “place” punishments would take the form of grid penalties or be implemented as the race is unfolding.

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The move for greater transparency and consistency comes after drivers were reportedly left “fuming” after a number of track limits breaches went undetected at last weekend’s United States GP at the Circuit of The Americas due to a poorly placed CCTV camera.

Perez, who was heard complaining about George Russell breaching track limits in the early stages of the race in Austin, reportedly committed 26 offences at Turn 6 alone over the course of the 56-lap race.

The FIA came under severe criticism in the aftermath of July’s Austrian GP, where eight different drivers were hit with post-race penalties – some multiple times – almost five hours after the chequered flag in a move that transformed the race classification.

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