Coulthard calls for revised stewarding system
David Coulthard has joined the chorus of drivers demanding the FIA beef up their stewarding system.
Although Coulthard retires from Formula One after 15 seasons in the sport following the Brazilian Grand Prix in a fortnight's time, the veteran Scot is hoping his voice will still be heard.
The current crop of drivers have become increasingly confused by a number of contradictory and controversial decisions made by the stewards throughout the course of the season.
That has been due in part to the FIA's rotational policy brought in at the start after dispensing with Tony Scott-Andrews at the end of last year, a permanent steward who attended every race.
Now, the three-man panel are alternated for each grand prix, and that has resulted in a lack of consistency in decision making.
"From my point of view the best would always be to have the same people going from event to event," said 37-year-old Coulthard.
Coulthard singled out a particular incident in Singapore when Toyota's Jarno Trulli was penalised for driving the wrong way down a short stretch of circuit to return to the pit lane following a spin on the start-finish straight.
"One of the things that came out of Singapore was a particular steward there was asking Jarno why he didn't turn the car to the left, why did he turn it to the right?" remarked Coulthard.
"As Jarno explained to him, and explained to us in the (drivers') meeting, F1 cars do not have the steering lock of a road car.
"You make a decision based on how much space you have got to do a spin turn.
"In those situations it is always going to be difficult if someone doesn't appreciate what it is to drive a grand prix car.
"Inevitably if you hang around any particular sport or business long enough, you will build up a feeling and an understanding.
"If you are changing the stewards every weekend then that is going to be a difficult situation."
One particular decision in last Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix which particularly angered the drivers was when Sebastien Bourdais had 25 seconds added to his race time for colliding with Felipe Massa.
Bourdais, who was returning to the track in his Toro Rosso after a pit stop, was fighting for position with Massa.
Bourdais had the inside line and had nowhere to go when Ferrari's Massa collided with him, yet it was the Frenchman who was deemed to be in the wrong, with the penalty dropping him from sixth to 10th.
"I felt the Bourdais-Massa situation was racing," said Coulthard.
"But the stewards looking at that particular situation apparently said to Bourdais that as he was leaving the pits he had to give way.
"I've never known any rule that says you have to give way when you leave the pits.
"You drive in a way that will not cause unnecessary contact, but you are racing. I think everyone agrees that situation was a bit too harsh.
"The drivers' view on it, if in doubt, has to be the one that carries because we know what it is like to drive these cars.
"I would be uncomfortable making a call on somebody's move in a MotoGP or something like that because although I have ridden a motorcycle, I don't know what it is to race one of them." Yahoo!Sport and Eurosport