Exclusive interview with steward Tom Kristensen

Exclusive interview with steward Tom Kristensen

10 August 2011 – Having a driver in the F1 stewards’ office has been commonplace since the start of the 2010 season. In Germany last month, Denmark’s Tom Kristensen returned to the FIA role for the first time since last year’s Australian Grand Prix. The multiple Le Mans 24 Hour winner discusses the idea’s progression, exclusively with GPUpdate.net.

We had you back in the FIA stewards’ office at the Nürburgring – how was your latest experience?
It was good, it’s a good experience. I think it’s a very good idea and in the end I think it means the racing gets better, gets closer and more professional, with a lot of respect for each other. Having a driver up there, who can think in the same way, I think is very important in racing situations.

How are you selected to be a steward?
Of course the idea happened around Jean Todt’s forum when he arrived as FIA President. It then goes via (Race Director) Charlie Whiting’s office, so exactly how it happens I don’t know but this year it all happened before the season – who will do where is all planned before the F1 season starts.

Last year I did Melbourne, I got a call from Jean Todt just before the season started. This year it was all planned before the season; I did one at the Nürburgring and I’m happy to do more in the future because I’m travelling quite a lot anyway.

During the races we don’t see much of the stewards’ room, so what is the atmosphere like – all sitting in silence or having a chat?
There is constantly a flow (of conversation) going on, but at the same time you are listening because in the stewards’ room you have quite a lot of input, with different screens you can watch. I would say it’s the best place you can watch it from, apart from watching it live from the stands obviously, because we do a little bit of both. But from there we have quite a good insight into what’s going on and we are able to get situations up and running so we can look through these things.

In the event of an incident, can you review anything you wish or must you wait for FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting to submit something?
Basically, anything which is given to us comes from Charlie – he has a hand on it and sometimes it’s good for us to see something which we’d like to view. But sometimes it might not come as far as us, as we are there to judge anything which is deemed worth looking at. But we can also prepare a decision and sometimes they are quite easy to make!

Sometimes we get something from Charlie and can make a decision quite early, but on other occasions you prefer to wait for more material and then look at it after the race. Obviously, for Charlie it’s important that decisions are made by the chequered flag so that is how it stands and how it should be, so that’s always the priority.

Imagine a scenario when the other three stewards agree but you, as the driver, disagree. How much strength would your opinion have, in that situation?
I can’t go into that; what comes out from the stewards is a unanimous decision – we all sign the paper. But I am just saying that there are different people in the stewards’ room every time, some with more experience and some with less. I can only say that it’s important that it all works together and it’s an important initiative from the FIA and Jean Todt.

Having a driver there is really spot-on; I would say it’s really necessary that there’s one there with racing experience. At the same time, though, you need to have all of the parameters and know how to put all of these different situations into the picture in terms of having fair treatment, but it shouldn’t affect the racing; I think at the Nürburgring we had some great and close racing, with the drivers respecting each other, and I think that’s what Formula 1 and motorsport in general should be all about.

What we are yet to see since drivers have been judging is a permanent steward who attends all races; would that make for more consistent decisions?
Don’t ask me! All I say is that it’s important to have a driver there and I think it’s good that the drivers are different. Consistency in some ways is important, and I think Charlie Whiting is consistent from that side, so that’s important so the drivers know what they can and can’t do.

Then again, it’s awareness, it’s fairness, respecting each other and racing hard – that’s what should be done and if we can have it like that then there will be no problem at all. But sometimes there are always situations in which it would be nice just to put it down to racing incidents.

Will you be back in the stewards’ office before the end of the year?
No, that’s it for me this year. I’d like to do it again next year, for sure, but this one fitted well for me this year. But it’s very important to have a driver’s view on it, no doubt.


Tom Kristensen was talking to GPUpdate.net’s Gregory Haines
Twitter: @GregoryHainesF1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 23 January 2017

  2. 11:52

    Official: MotoGP's final 2017 calendar

    MotoGP
  3. 10:25

    Gallery: Race of Champions in Miami

    Misc
  4. Lynn joins DS Virgin FE in reserve role 10:08

    Lynn joins DS Virgin FE in reserve role

    Alex Lynn has joined the DS Virgin Formula E team as its reserve driver on a multi-year deal. British racer Lynn, 23, spent…

    FE
  5. Video: ROC Nations Cup event highlights 09:02

    Video: ROC Nations Cup event highlights

    Watch highlights from the ROC Nations Cup andall-new America vs The World at Marlins Park, Miami.

    Misc
  6. Dovizioso: Ducati must aim for MotoGP title 08:12

    Dovizioso: Ducati must aim for MotoGP title

    Ducati's target in MotoGP this season must be to fight for the championship, according to Andrea Dovizioso. Ducati last week…

    MotoGP
  7. Video of the Day: Rosberg at Davos WEF 05:06

    Video of the Day: Rosberg at Davos WEF

    World Champion Nico Rosberg attends the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss his hopes for the future, his decision to…

    F1
  8. Sunday 22 January 2017

  9. Vettel wins RoC Nations Cup for Germany 19:19

    Vettel wins RoC Nations Cup for Germany

    Sebastian Vettel single-handedly claimed victory for Team Germany in the Race of Champions Nations Cup, following the withdrawal…

    Misc
  10. Wehrlein withdraws from Race of Champions 14:55

    Wehrlein withdraws from Race of Champions

    Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein has withdrawn from the Nations Cup at the Race of Champions on medical advice following his…

    Misc
  11. Miles: Halo device not possible for IndyCar 14:36

    Miles: Halo device not possible for IndyCar

    Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar's parent company Hulman & Co, believes that the proposed 'halo' head protection device, favoured by…

    Indy
  12. Video: Race of Champions Highlights 13:26

    Video: Race of Champions Highlights

    Watch highlights from the Race of Champions as Juan Pablo Montoya takes victory in the individual competition.

    Misc
  13. Rossi eyes Le Mans after MotoGP career 10:46

    Rossi eyes Le Mans after MotoGP career

    Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi says he would like to enter the Le Mans 24 Hours in the future and insists he has no regrets over…

    MotoGP
  14. Video: Wehrlein's dramatic crash at RoC 08:31

    Video: Wehrlein's dramatic crash at RoC

    Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein suffers a dramatic roll at the Race of Champions after tagging rival Felipe Massa.

    Misc
  15. Verschoor extends lead with Teretonga double 08:13

    Verschoor extends lead with Teretonga double

    Red Bull protégé Richard Verschoor extended his championship lead during the second round of the Toyota Racing Series as he…

    Toyota
  16. Montoya takes victory at Race of Champions 07:50

    Montoya takes victory at Race of Champions

    Juan Pablo Montoya claimed victory at the Race of Champions after he beat Tom Kristensen in the final at Marlins Park in…

    Misc
  17. Video of the Day: Bottas at Mercedes 05:00

    Video of the Day: Bottas at Mercedes

    Follow Valtteri Bottas during his first day as a Mercedes Formula 1 driver at the team's factory in Brackley.

    F1
  18. Saturday 21 January 2017

  19. Rosberg expects shaken up order in 2017 15:56

    Rosberg expects shaken up order in 2017

    World Champion Nico Rosberg says he expects Formula 1's pecking order to have been shaken up this season as the sport prepares…

    F1
  20. Ducati: We won't start 2017 as favourites 14:22

    Ducati: We won't start 2017 as favourites

    Ducati boss Luigi Dall'Igna insists that the team will not start as favourites for the 2017 MotoGP title, despite the…

    MotoGP
  21. Video: Vettel's Race of Champions guide 13:00

    Video: Vettel's Race of Champions guide

    Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, and US action racer Travis Pastrana, take a look at the layout for this year's Race of…

    Misc
  22. Silverstone clarifies British Grand Prix future 10:04

    Silverstone clarifies British Grand Prix future

    The British Racing Drivers' Club, which owns Silverstone, has clarified comments regarding the future of the British Grand Prix…

    F1
  23. Viñales targets corner entry improvements 09:14

    Viñales targets corner entry improvements

    New Yamaha recruit Maverick Viñales believes the team's primary area in which to improve is on corner entry, following his…

    MotoGP
  24. Video of the Day: What's on Abt's phone? 05:36

    Video of the Day: What's on Abt's phone?

    Formula E driver Daniel Abt shares what's on his mobile phone in this light-hearted video.

    FE
  25. Friday 20 January 2017

  26. 17:02

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  27. Video: FE's di Grassi tries Virtual Reality 15:32

    Video: FE's di Grassi tries Virtual Reality

    Lucas di Grassi scours the show floor at CES for the hottest new tech, from drones to VR headsets.

    FE
  28. Eriksson stays in Formula 3 with Motopark 13:15

    Eriksson stays in Formula 3 with Motopark

    Joel Eriksson will contest a second European Formula 3 season with Team Motopark in 2017. Swedish racer Eriksson, 18, took…

    F3
  29. Ecclestone: My F1 future now up to Liberty 11:32

    Ecclestone: My F1 future now up to Liberty

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that there are no guarantees over his future in the sport, as Liberty Media's…

    F1
  30. 10:26

    Gallery: Ducati's 2017 team presentation

    MotoGP
  31. Ducati presents 2017 MotoGP contender 10:24

    Ducati presents 2017 MotoGP contender

    Ducati has officially presented its bike for the upcoming MotoGP championship, in which it will field new arrival Jorge Lorenzo…

    MotoGP
  32. Magnussen: Renault faces long recovery 09:54

    Magnussen: Renault faces long recovery

    Haas driver Kevin Magnussen believes that his former team, Renault, faces a long road to recovery before it can fight…

    F1
  33. MotoGP eyes series for British youngsters 08:20

    MotoGP eyes series for British youngsters

    MotoGP organisers have raised the idea of a British-based championship for young riders, following the success of other junior…

    MotoGP
  34. Video of the Day: Countdown to RB13 05:10

    Video of the Day: Countdown to RB13

    Red Bull Racing gears up for its RB13 with this video of ongoing work at its factory in Milton Keynes.

    F1
  35. Thursday 19 January 2017

  36. Liberty offers teams chance to invest in F1 18:06

    Liberty offers teams chance to invest in F1

    Liberty Media has confirmed that it has offered Formula 1 teams the opportunity to invest in the sport, following the FIA giving…

    F1
  37. Ericsson hails Wehrlein's arrival at Sauber 15:02

    Ericsson hails Wehrlein's arrival at Sauber

    Marcus Ericsson has welcomed new team-mate Pascal Wehrlein to Sauber and believes that the "highly-rated" Mercedes protégé…

    F1
  38. Rossi regards Viñales as 2017 title threat 14:30

    Rossi regards Viñales as 2017 title threat

    Valentino Rossi believes that new Yamaha team-mate Maverick Viñales has the ability to fight for the MotoGP championship from…

    MotoGP
  39. Wolff: Bottas deal keeps 2018 options open 13:52

    Wolff: Bottas deal keeps 2018 options open

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the manufacturer's decision to recruit Valtteri Bottas on a one-year deal allows the team to keep…

    F1
  40. 13:23

    Gallery: Movistar Yamaha 2017 launch

    MotoGP
  41. Video: Rossi meets new team-mate Viñales 12:37

    Video: Rossi meets new team-mate Viñales

    Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi meets new team-mate Maverick Viñales ahead of the new MotoGP season.

    MotoGP
  42. 12:18

    Overview: 2017 GP3 Series driver line-up

    GP3
  43. Mercedes signs Russell to junior scheme 12:17

    Mercedes signs Russell to junior scheme

    Rising British star George Russell has joined Mercedes' young driver programme, and will graduate to the GP3 Series with ART…

    F1
  44. Yamaha unveils 2017 YZR-M1 in Madrid 11:36

    Yamaha unveils 2017 YZR-M1 in Madrid

    Movistar Yamaha has unveiled its 2017 YZR-M1, which Valentino Rossi and newcomer Maverick Viñales will ride in this year's…

    MotoGP
  45. AVF signs Isaakyan for V8 3.5 campaign 10:07

    AVF signs Isaakyan for V8 3.5 campaign

    AVF has recruited Matevos Isaakyan for this season's Formula V8 3.5 championship. Isaakyan, 18, placed ninth overall in the…

    FV8 3.5
more news