Which former Formula 1 driver would make a good permanent steward?

Need an experienced ex-F1 driver to be a steward?  I\'ve got just the guy...

Need an experienced ex-F1 driver to be a steward? I've got just the guy...

Following the recent spate of dubious penalty decisions involving Sebastien Bourdais, Lewis Hamilton (at Fuji and Spa) and Felipe Massa, many F1 drivers have voiced a desire to see a permanent stewards appointed.

Ideally they would like one with relevant, recent Grand Prix experience. So who could fit the bill? Here’s a few potential names.

Jean Alesi

F1 starts: 201
Last Grand Prix: Suzuka, 2001
Pros: Vast experience, drove for several teams.
Cons: Never really shook off his wild side. In his final DTM season in 2006 he was fined for brake-testing team mate Mika Hakkinen.

Read more about Jean Alesi: Jean Alesi biography

Michael Schumacher

F1 starts: 248
Last Grand Prix: Interlagos, 2006
Pros: Can you think of a more experienced driver? Knows every trick in the book…
Cons: …because he got away with most of them. Several drivers voiced complaints about the standards of his driving while he was in F1. There’s a slim chance he might possibly be seen as being a little bit pro-Ferrari.

Read more about Michael Schumacher: Michael Schumacher biography

Mika Hakkinen

F1 starts: 161
Last Grand Prix: Suzuka, 2001
Pros: Went toe-to-toe with F1’s most successful champion – and won.
Cons: There’s a slim chance he might possibly be seen as being a little bit pro-McLaren.

Read more about Mika Hakkinen: Mika Hakkinen biography

Olivier Panis

F1 starts: 157
Last Grand Prix: Magny-Cours, 2005 (practice only)
Pros: Confines his current racing activity for to the F1 off-season, ice racing with Toyota.
Cons: Like Alesi, has just one win to his name – did he see enough of the sharp end of an F1 race to be considered sufficiently experienced?

Mika Salo

F1 starts: 109
Last Grand Prix: Suzuka, 2002
Pros: Experienced and without any obvious grudges against former rivals or teams…
Cons: …except maybe Toyota. No wins.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen

F1 starts: 156
Last Grand Prix: Suzuka, 2003
Pros: Experienced and without any obvious grudges against former rivals or teams…
Cons: …except maybe Williams.

David Coulthard

F1 starts: 245*
Last Grand Prix: Shanghai, 2008*
Pros: Stacks of experience and fresh from the cockpit (if one can be ‘fresh’ after getting out of a cockpit).
Cons: Expected to be working for the BBC next year, possibly too recent a retiree who could be seen as biased.
*Career ongoing but ending at conclusion of 2008 season.

Read more about David Coulthard: David Coulthard biography

Which ex-driver do you think would be a good choice as a permanent steward?

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66 comments on Which former Formula 1 driver would make a good permanent steward?

  1. Why don’t they just hire all the former race driver fathers of current drivers?

    – Keke/Nico Rosberg
    – Nelson Piquet/Jr.
    – Satoru/Kazuki Nakajima
    – John/Jenson Button (John did Rallycross)

  2. Journeyer said on 23rd October 2008, 12:05

    I like Mark’s idea of putting Schumacher and Hakkinen together. While one is aligned with Ferrari and the other with McLaren, both are good enough mates (if not very close friends) to put their heads together and make some common-sense decisions.

  3. Journeyer – Plus they don’t have any ties to lower teams (if you don’t count Schumacher working for Briatore for a time).

  4. If we’re considering people with long-term F1 experience, then I hear that there’s a certain J Allen who might be looking for gainful employment next year…

  5. If it weren’t for the fact that I want to see him racing again I would vote for Anthony Davidson. He has been very fair, but clear, on the Five Live podcasts I’ve listened to.

  6. 02CH36 said on 23rd October 2008, 12:48

    ALEX WURZ would be a perfect fit ……A pretty good guy and has all the qualities to be a steward I suppose

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd October 2008, 12:52

    02CH36 – that’s my favourite suggestion so far. Wurz is a smart guy, he’d be a great choice.

  8. But, if it was a pair of drivers, who would be a good partner with Wurz?

  9. Oliver said on 23rd October 2008, 13:00

    I believe whoever is put there will do a much better job than the biased FIA. Mclaren have been dropped 5places down the grid 3 times this year already, but Heidfeld only gets dropped 3 places, not once but twice. How can that be explained. It should even be noted that in the second instance a Mclaren got demoted, there was no complaint from any team.

  10. ajokay said on 23rd October 2008, 13:32

    Alex Wurz is probably in my top 3 favourite F1 drivers. He always seems like such a solid, rooted person. Screw giving him a steward’s job, make him FIA president.

    Plus, he always used to throw up the devil horns whenever he was on the podium. Great stuff! \m/

    I would say drivers like Villeneuve or Montoya, but I should think they’ve more than washed their hands of anything to do with F1 by now.

    I should think Coulthard would be quite fair about things. Barrichello, and I think Trulli as well, when they retire.

  11. I think would be fantastic a mix of old guys with the (almost) new one´s.

    Sir Jackye/Alesi
    Stirling Moss/Hakkinen

    So, we would be have a team of Stewards that should covered almost all Formula 1 years. And we could put down the Mr Donnelly´s argument about the experience of this guys has been tied to the past.

  12. Steve said on 23rd October 2008, 13:53

    Out of all the names listed, Damon Hill is, I belive, by far the most suited.
    He’s got F1 in his blood, and has shown he can be diplomatic with his chairmanship of the BRDC.

  13. I’d agree with Alexander Wurz, but it’s really a pick of a not so great bunch candidates.

    And bear in mind, Alexander Wurz would’ve favoured the penalty Hamilton got in Spa, as his commentary on Austrian TV proved.

  14. Scootin159 said on 23rd October 2008, 14:10

    Whoever they pick, I think the most important part is that they pick SOMEBODY. Having a single person at any race will inherently provide a more consistent reading of the rules that what we’re getting not… weather you agree with that reading or not, it should always be the same.

  15. Scootin159 – I agree with you. But, at the same time, a person should not be consistently in favour of one team or another.

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