The FIA needs to review a number of regulations to try and improve consistency in Formula 1, according to McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.
The handling of the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has come under intense scrutiny for the way safety car regulations were applied in a way that influenced the outcome of the drivers’ championship, with the FIA undertaking a “detailed analysis” of the situation. Brown believes it needs to go further and look at multiple regulations without input from the teams to try and make the rules more clear for all involved.
“I think everyone was pretty confused,” Brown told RACER about Abu Dhabi. “Obviously there were winners and losers in it. It’s tough being a referee in any sport because half of the fans are going to agree with your call, half of them aren’t. It seemed to deviate from what’s happened in the past. I think if you look to Baku they red-flagged it right away. It didn’t really change the outcome for us but I think in the off-season we need to review a lot of our regulations.
“If I pull back, I think there’s too much inconsistency in regulations and how they’re applied and when they’re applied, driver penalties… You look at Lando (Norris) who doesn’t touch (Sergio) Perez on the first lap in Austria, he tries him round the outside and he gets a five-second penalty and two penalty points. Then you have Max (Verstappen) and Lewis (Hamilton) who both go off the track (in Brazil) and ‘Let them race.’ I think we all have those stories, and it’s difficult when it’s subjective, but I think we need to take a step back.
“There were enough people disgruntled throughout the year that we need to look at the rules. And keep in mind that it’s the teams who make most of these rules. So as you’ve heard me bang on about, I’d continue to like to see less influence from the teams, because we’re the ones who developed half of these rules.”
Brown says one area he is pleased to see being addressed is the issue of in-race radio messages to FIA race director Michael Masi — something Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director of motor sports and technical director, wants to put a stop to.
“I’m not a fan, especially with it being broadcast — which Ross has said is no longer going to happen — because you now see some team bosses doing things because the camera’s on them. I think that’s changed people’s behavior, so I’m a supporter of what Ross says, I think that should be behind the scenes.
“Also, you have multiple people at multiple times going to Masi; at our team we have one person that talks to the FIA, that’s it. So you get this piling-on effect. You shouldn’t be able to bend the referee’s ear in the way we can, and then you have multiple people bending the referee’s ear, and then you add live on TV which adds another dimension to it, I don’t think that’s how a sport should be governed.”