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Lewis Hamilton calls for ‘non-biased’ stewards in F1, Mercedes have ‘faith’ in new structure

Lewis Hamilton suggests “some” stewards “tend to take more of a keen liking” to certain drivers; both Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner say they don’t think there is bias in F1 decision-making; Hamilton also calls for “more women in the stewards’ room”

Last Updated: 23/02/22 6:05pm

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Lewis Hamilton has said he wants less bias and more female stewards in F1 and claims the Mercedes team don’t make mistakes.

Lewis Hamilton has said he wants less bias and more female stewards in F1 and claims the Mercedes team don’t make mistakes.

Lewis Hamilton has called on Formula 1 to ensure there are “non-biased stewards” making decisions this season, suggesting that “some are very good friends” with other drivers and “take more of a liking to them”.

The seven-time world champion’s comments come amid a tempestuous period regarding decision-making in the sport, with Hamilton having been controversially beaten to the title by Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi at the end of a 2021 season where many stewards’ verdicts were questioned.

Coming into F1 2022, the FIA ​​has announced an officiating restructure, with Michael Masi replaced by two new race directors who will share the role.

Hamilton was asked – on the first day of pre-season testing – how the new structure may help consistency in decision-making, to which he replied: “We need to make sure we have non-biased stewards, too.

Lewis Hamilton takes a look at the new Red Bull as he wanders down the pit lane at pre-season testing from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

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Lewis Hamilton takes a look at the new Red Bull as he wanders down the pit lane at pre-season testing from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Lewis Hamilton takes a look at the new Red Bull as he wanders down the pit lane at pre-season testing from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

“Racing drivers, some are 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 need] people who have no bias are super central when it comes to making decisions.”

Responding to Hamilton’s claim that F1’s stewards are biased, an FIA spokesperson said: “The FIA ​​is proud of its global stewarding pathway that connects and develops the most talented stewards from across motor sport.

“This has resulted in a strong, independent and experienced group of officials who carry out their work with impartiality and the utmost professionalism.”

Wolff, Horner disagree with Hamilton’s claims

It is unclear who Hamilton is referring to with his comments in terms of drivers or stewards – and soon after Mercedes boss Toto Wolff stressed that he didn’t think there was any officiating bias.

“I think we need professionalism in the stewards’ room,” said Wolff, speaking around half an hour after Hamilton in the press conference.

“I don’t think there is a conscious bias to be honest. It’s intelligent people.”

Formula 1 expert Karun Chandhok says former race director Michael Masi made a mistake in Abu Dhabi but believes the system did not help with the situation either

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Formula 1 expert Karun Chandhok says former race director Michael Masi made a mistake in Abu Dhabi but believes the system did not help with the situation either

Formula 1 expert Karun Chandhok says former race director Michael Masi made a mistake in Abu Dhabi but believes the system did not help with the situation either

Red Bull boss Christian Horner added: “I would agree with Toto that I don’t think there’s an intended bias. I’m not aware of any stewards traveling with drivers to races.

“In Mohammed [ben Sulayem, FIA president] we have a new president that is looking to bolster the structure and bring in an equivalent of a VAR, and I think giving a better infrastructure for clearer decisions with clearer regulations is something that should be strived for.

“But I certainly don’t think there was any bias from any stewards during the last seasons.”

Wolff did, however, call for more consistency.

“Most important, whether we talk about the race direction, the support that they will have back at base, or the stewards, there needs to be a standard.

Craig Slater updates us on the latest from the first F1 test from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

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Craig Slater updates us on the latest from the first F1 test from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Craig Slater updates us on the latest from the first F1 test from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

“This is what we deserve and this is what everybody expects, and 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 the potential outcome might be. But the rules are the rules and I think as everything is being restructured, I have faith in Mohamed that going forward we will optimise all these structures.”

Hamilton calls for more diversity in stewards’ room

For each F1 race, there are typically a set of four stewards who work with race control to look at on-track incidents and decide on penalties.

Craig Slater and Ted Kravitz welcome us to the first day of F1 testing from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

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Craig Slater and Ted Kravitz welcome us to the first day of F1 testing from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Craig Slater and Ted Kravitz welcome us to the first day of F1 testing from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Meanwhile, Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas are set to act alternatively as F1’s race director.

But Hamilton added: “I want to see more women in the stewards’ room.

“I don’t think we have many, I think last year it was maybe one or two. It would be awesome for them to have a male and female as the two race directors that they’re talking about doing.

“I think that’s a great way of promoting diversity, too.”

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