Formula 1 Stewards Given Reign to be More Lenient

In a recent change to the F1 sporting regulations, stewards presiding over Formula 1 will be encouraged to adopt a more lax policy for penalties.

Well it looks like the F1 Commission has recognized that the 2017 cars are poised to eliminate the opportunities that drivers will get to overtake one another out on the track. Since their unveil, the chassis and under-the-hood refinements that the ’17 Formula 1 underwent have been the talk of the town.

SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 28:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives the  Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H Ferrari 059/5 turbo drives in front of Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 28, 2016 in Spa, Belgium  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 28: Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives the Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H Ferrari 059/5 turbo drives in front of Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 28, 2016 in Spa, Belgium (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Many have voiced their complaints – viewers and drivers alike – that these new cars will offer drivers even more potential to push fast into corners and brake late. While surely a feat of fabulous mechanical orchestration, it doesn’t give much to the sport in terms of viewership.

Have no fear, for the stewards have had their leashes loosened and have been instructed to be more max when they dole out punishments for aggressive driving. It seems someone high up had the sense to use tap into the power of these metallic beasts in a way that will generate more exciting moments out on the track.

The revised articles for in the F1 Sporting Regulations for 2017 says:

“It shall be at the discretion of the stewards to decide if any driver involved in an Incident should be penalized. Unless it is clear to the stewards that a driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for an incident no penalty will be imposed.” – Article 38.2

Language like “wholly to blame” does leave a lot of gray area – precisely why we have stewards – but I can’t help but thinking of potential scenarios where a steward would be pressured not to reprimand a driver due to their actions causing buzz around the sport.

SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 28:  Max Verstappen of the Netherlands drives the 6 Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 28, 2016 in Spa, Belgium  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 28: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands drives the 6 Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 28, 2016 in Spa, Belgium (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

I hope that everyone who steps out on the track comes back safe, but a little bit of pushing and shoving (a far cry away from the neutered over-hesitant manoeuvres of the past) would absolutely spice up a race.

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