Monaco Grand Prix stewards panel representative Derek Warwick has explained why Nico Rosberg was cleared of any wrong-doing during qualifying for last week’s race in the Principality.
As former Formula One driver, Warwick was the fourth member on the stewards panel and served to advise the other members on incidents from a drivers’ perspective.
The panel investigated Rosberg after Saturday’s qualifying following the Mercedes driver’s accident during his final flying lap of Q3.
Rosberg locked his brakes and ran off the track at Mirabeau, which triggered yellow flags which in turn ruined the other drivers on track’s session, effectively handing him pole position ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Subsequently, the stewards studied telemetry and video evidence, but after Rosberg was interviewed on the matter, the stewards ruled that they “could find no evidence of any offence”.
Nevertheless, speculation about Rosberg’s intent during the incident continued to surface on the paddock during the race weekend and Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle even suggested that only a “minority” believed Rosberg’s story.
Warwick, a veteran of 146 grands prix and current President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, remains convinced by the explanation that was provided by Rosberg and maintains that the panel investigated the incident thoroughly.
“We had all Mercedes’s data, including Lewis’s data to overlay on Nico’s. We had the FIA data. We had onboard shots, overhead shots, circuit shots. We had throttle traces, braking traces, everything we needed to make, hopefully, the right decision,” Warwick told The Daily Mail.
“It was not black and white. It took a long time. We wanted to be sure and thorough. The driver is a massive component in what we end up deciding. So Nico was in the stewards’ room for a long time with the team manager [Ron Meadows]. I wouldn’t say I interrogated him; I interviewed him. I made sure I asked him all the right questions.
“I have been around a long time and seen people try to pull the wool over my eyes. Did I have doubts in my mind, of course I did. But he gave me the answers I needed. I know there are conspiracy theories but you will not find a more honest driver in grand prix racing than Nico. He said himself that he made a mistake, came in too fast, braked too late and locked up his rear tyres.”
If Rosberg was found to have acted deliberately, he would have been stripped of pole position and forced to start from the back of the grid, similar to how Michael Schumacher was punished in 2006 when he deliberately stopped his Ferrari at the Rascasse.
“You could argue that as president of the BRDC I would have a reason to come to a decision that would have favoured the British driver, but obviously that is not how I would approach it. I am there to be independent,” Warwick added.
“It is a big decision to make when you are deciding to move a driver to the back of the grid. It was doubly important to get it right because it could affect many things – probably the outcome of the race and possibly of the world championship.”