Drivers need to be an 'advocate of a high standard' in F1

© Ubaid Parkar, 8 October 2012
© Sutton Images/Corbis/AP Images

Drivers need to be better representatives of Formula 1 particularly in safety and driving standards, according to Allan McNish, after recent incidents in the sport raised questions about the quality of the competitors.

Romain Grosjean has been at the centre of controversy in the second half of the season after he caused a spectacular wreck at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix in September. The Lotus driver was banned for the next race as a result.

After serving his sentence, however, the Frenchman got involved in another crash in the opening lap of the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday which earned him a stop-and-go penalty.

Both the episodes at Spa and Suzuka involved championship contenders, compromising the title bids of those involved.

Earlier in the season, it was Pastor Maldonado who was found repeatedly bumping into other cars on track, which raised eyebrows about the Williams driver’s abilities.

Grosjean and Maldonado have been champions in GP2, a feeder series for F1, suggesting that recent drivers taking the step up don’t have their skills polished and stricter action needed to be taken against them.

“Generally, like in every sport you need to be a good advocate of a high standard when you are at the high level. Everybody looks up to that,” McNish told exclusively. “You also need to have consistency all the way through whether it’s the first step in a karting ladder or even racing cars. That’s the important factor about it.

“With regards to the situations that have happened lately they have been well documented with what’s happened in Formula 1 and also in GP2,” the Scot added. “But you’re never going to please everybody, it’s a hard job and stewards have a difficult time of it.”

The former F1 and current World Endurance Championship driver with Audi has been the FIA steward at Grands Prix on several occasions, adding his own perspective to the decisions that are taken during the races.

“I think it’s very clear that I understand the way the system works much better, I understand the technology that the stewards have available to them and the information that they have available to them is at a significantly higher level that I even imagined it could be,” McNish said. “And when they make a decision they’re making a very informed decision.

“One good thing about this is that in the WEC now for example they got ex-driver Yannick Dalmas advising the stewards as well,” he pointed out. “The FIA is trying to spread that and benefit wider. Because it’s difficult for stewards that have never sat in racing cars to get an understanding and get a feel for it. That’s where the driver steward element has been a benefit.”


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