Perez’s solution to the growing discontent over racing rules

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez speaking with a serious Sebastian Vettel during a press conference. Silverstone July 2022

Sergio Perez has called on his fellow drivers to work together with F1’s new race directors, but feels having a permanent steward would help calm the growing discontent.

That Sebastian Vettel upped and left a drivers’ briefing at the Austrian Grand Prix has been widely reported, the German said to be frustrated with the back-and-forth talk.

This season Formula 1 has two new race directors, the FIA opting to put Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas into the position in place of Michael Masi.

The two have alternated the role, and the drivers aren’t that impressed with the work they have done so far.

Earlier this season Fernando Alonso called them incompetent, the Spaniard saying there wasn’t a lot of “knowledge in place” between the two of them.

That was back in Miami even before the Alpine driver wanted an explanation for the lack of penalties handed out at the British GP, going off the track and more than one move to defend, the latter of which he had previously been penalised for.

It is said that the drivers’ briefing Austria began with a ’20-minute argument about driving standards’ of which Alonso held the floor for much of that.

Vettel’s frustrations grew to the point that he snapped, according to Auto Motor und Sport, and walked out.

Sebastian Vettel speaks to the media. Canada June 2022.

The big issue the drivers are having at the moment is consistency with George Russell saying having just one race director, not two, would help with that.

“We need to have a bit more consistency with the stewarding,” said the Mercedes driver. “We come to the following event and often the steward at the previous event isn’t there. So there’s no accountability, no explanations of decisions.

“We ask questions and it’s difficult to get a straightforward answer because almost a bit blame is being put onto someone else who isn’t there.”

Perez feels having a permanent race steward on board would help with that, the drivers then receiving one explanation on a transgression that would carry through the entire season.

“That would be good to try to make some progress because every weekend you find different stewards,” he said.

The Red Bull driver, however, isn’t so ready to sack either Wittich or Freitas, instead urging his fellow drivers to work with them.

“You have to give a bit of time to our new race directors,” he said as per GPFans. “I will work together [with them], certainly.

“At the moment, there seems to be a lot of disagreeing but it is important for everyone in the sport to keep working together.”