BARCELONA, Spain — Lewis Hamilton hinted that Formula One’s current race stewards are biased towards certain drivers and has called for new individuals without agendas to be installed.
Hamilton has said he “lost faith” in Formula One’s governing body after he controversially lost the title at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when former race director Michael Masi incorrectly applied the rules to restart the race.
Masi was removed from his position last week after an FIA investigation into those decisions.
Every F1 race has a rotating panel of four stewards who make decisions on matters referred to them by the race director. Stewarding was a controversial topic last season, with several big decisions drawing criticism.
“We need to make sure we get nonbiased stewards,” Hamilton said on Wednesday.
“Racing drivers, some are very, very good friends with certain individuals. Some travel with certain individuals, and tend to take more of a keen liking to some of them.
“I think we [just need] people who have no bias and are super central when it comes to making decisions.”
It was not clear whom Hamilton was referring to. There is speculation it was a reference to former Red Bull driver Vitantonio Liuzzi, who was one of the stewards at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix and did not penalise Verstappen for his aggressive defensive move on Hamilton which saw both drivers forced off track.
Liuzzi and his three fellow race stewards then rejected a Mercedes request to look at the incident after the race.
Hamilton believes sweeping changes are needed and he called for more diversity in the people making decisions.
“I want to see more women in the stewards’ room,” he said.
“I think maybe last year we had one or two and I think it would be awesome for them to have a male and a female as the two race directors, for the two race directors I think they are talking about doing. I think that’s a great way of promoting diversity, too.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull boss Christian Horner spoke in the press conference which followed Hamilton’s and both addressed the same topic.
While both have disagreed on many topics over the years, they agreed that the biggest issue for F1 to address is consistency in the decisions that are made.
“I think we need professionalism in the stewards room,” Wolff said. “I don’t think there is a conscious bias, to be honest, it’s intelligent people, but most important is whether we talk about race direction, the support they will have back at base, or the stewards, there needs to be a standard.
“This is what we deserve and this is what everybody expects. I think there are some very good people that we can build upon.
“Most important — and we all have talked about it last year — was the topic of inconsistency. There shouldn’t be a lot of room to interpret the rules. There shouldn’t be a lot of leniency depending on what a potential outcome could be, but the rules are the rules.
“As everything is being restructured, I have faith in [new FIA president] Mohammed [Ben Sulayem] that going forward we will optimize all these structures.”
Horner agreed, adding that he was unaware of any existing race stewards traveling to races with any active drivers.
“I think a lot of issues are to do with the regulations themselves, because you’ve got very complicated regulations that then leave room for interpretation. I think the circuit limits one is an obvious one where in any other sport being over a white line and you’re out. And you have a situation like we have currently where some corners it’s OK, some corners it isn’t.
“I think for the fans, and even for the drivers and the teams, it’s confusing. So what you need is clear rules which are then easier to police. Now we’ve all been on the receiving end of stewards’ decisions that we’ve been unhappy about.
“I would agree with Toto that I don’t think there is an intended bias, I’m not aware of any stewards traveling with drivers to races.”