FIA steward Derek Warwick has said that F1 may revisit the rules about impeding other drivers in qualifying.
Warwick, a former F1 driver himself, was part of the panel that penalised Sebastian Vettel in qualifying. The German driver was demoted three places on the grid in Austria. This was despite the fact that Carlos Sainz, the victim, did not blame the German for blocking him.
“I think it’s the result of all of the drivers complaining that someone did this or someone did that,” Ferrari‘s Vettel said.
But Warwick defended the decision, saying that the stewards had to punish the German last weekend.
“Our hands are tied,” he said. “The rules demand it.
“It has already caught out other drivers further down the grid, so you can’t punish them and not the big guys,” the Briton said.
Warwick also revealed that the FIA is now thinking about a rule tweak.
“Maybe there would only be a penalty if the action was dangerous or the affected driver doesn’t get into the next session or loses places,” he said.
He was referring to the numerous penalties that have been dished out. Even Vettel has expressed his displeasure at the penalty system. But he conceded that the drivers have brought it on themselves.
The 4-time world champion feels that the stewards are being far too intrusive. He added that drivers should be allowed to resolve more issues themselves on the track.
With regard to the incident between Vettel and Sainz, the only damage inflicted was to Sainz’ front wing. But it did not cost him a slot in Q3. The Spaniard admitted that he was initially angry. But the anger dissipated upon finding out that his Q3 slot was safe.
Nevertheless, the qualifying impeding rules will be changed to only affect drivers who suffered consequences.