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 28 July 2014

  2. Video: Rosberg reflects on Hungarian GP 11:07

    Video: Rosberg reflects on Hungarian GP

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg reflects on an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix, which included a costly Safety Car period, a team...

    F1
  3. Villeneuve: Rosberg tried to ruin Hamilton's race 10:47

    Villeneuve: Rosberg tried to ruin Hamilton's race

    Jacques Villeneuve believes that Nico Rosberg tried to "destroy" Lewis Hamilton's Hungarian Grand Prix. Rosberg was...

    F1
  4. Caterham team facing legal action from ex-staff 10:10

    Caterham team facing legal action from ex-staff

    The Caterham F1 team is facing legal action from around 40 former employees, laid off earlier this month. Since Tony...

    F1
  5. Sutil positive despite narrowly missing point 09:32

    Sutil positive despite narrowly missing point

    Adrian Sutil extracted the positives after narrowly missing out on his and Sauber's first point of the season at the...

    F1
  6. Lauda backs Hamilton over team orders 09:02

    Lauda backs Hamilton over team orders

    Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda says Lewis Hamilton was completely within his rights to ignore instructions to...

    F1
  7. Räikkönen says sixth was maximum result 07:23

    Räikkönen says sixth was maximum result

    Kimi Räikkönen says finishing sixth in the Hungarian Grand Prix was the most he could have hoped for after a disastrous q...

    F1
  8. Video of the Day: Stories from Senna's mechanic 05:14

    Video of the Day: Stories from Senna's mechanic

    Neil Trundle, former Chief Mechanic to Ayrton Senna, discusses his time working with a legend of the sport.

    F1
  9. 03:06

    Championship standings after Hungary

    F1
  10. Sunday 27 July 2014

  11. Bottas feels tyre strategy cost podium shot 19:54

    Bottas feels tyre strategy cost podium shot

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas reckons he could have been in the podium fight in Hungary if he had chosen a better tyre...

    F1
  12. Mercedes to discuss Hungary team orders 18:18

    Mercedes to discuss Hungary team orders

    Mercedes says it will hold internal discussions with its drivers after the outfit issued team orders during the Hungarian...

    F1
  13. Force India drivers apologetic after incidents 17:56

    Force India drivers apologetic after incidents

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez have both apologised to their team after retiring from the Hungarian G...

    F1
  14. Button laments misleading weather forecast 17:14

    Button laments misleading weather forecast

    Jenson Button was left to lament a missed opportunity after getting caught out by false rain predictions in the Hungarian...

    F1
  15. Rosberg: First Safety Car wrecked race 16:57

    Rosberg: First Safety Car wrecked race

    Nico Rosberg says the timing of the first Safety Car period ruined his chances of winning Sunday afternoon's Hungarian Grand...

    F1
  16. 16:40

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Hungaroring

    F1
  17. 'Nice surprise' for Alonso and Ferrari 16:39

    'Nice surprise' for Alonso and Ferrari

    Fernando Alonso says finishing on the Hungarian Grand Prix podium came as a "nice surprise" to himself and his Ferrari...

    F1
  18. Hamilton grateful to recover to podium 16:28

    Hamilton grateful to recover to podium

    Lewis Hamilton admitted that he was grateful to recover to the podium after a first lap error during the Hungarian Grand...

    F1
  19. Ricciardo: Safety Car did not hand me win 16:00

    Ricciardo: Safety Car did not hand me win

    Daniel Ricciardo says he was made to work for his Hungarian Grand Prix victory, playing down the role of two Safety Car...

    F1
  20. 15:25

    In full: Hungarian Grand Prix race result

    F1
  21. Ricciardo wins dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix 15:03

    Ricciardo wins dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix

    Daniel Ricciardo claimed the second victory of his Formula 1 career during an incident-packed Hungarian Grand Prix. The Red...

    F1
  22. 13:40

    Follow the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix live!

    F1
  23. Button tips Hamilton to finish on podium 11:37

    Button tips Hamilton to finish on podium

    Jenson Button has tipped Lewis Hamilton to recover from his qualifying woes and finish on the Hungarian Grand Prix...

    F1
  24. 10:29

    Latest GP2 photos: Sunday at Hungaroring

    GP2
  25. Vandoorne takes GP2 Sprint Race victory 10:28

    Vandoorne takes GP2 Sprint Race victory

    McLaren young driver Stoffel Vandoorne came out on top in the GP2 Sprint Race at the Hungaroring after taking the lead at...

    GP2
  26. 09:05

    Latest GP3 photos: Sunday at Hungaroring

    GP3
  27. Niederhauser controls second GP3 race 09:04

    Niederhauser controls second GP3 race

    Arden driver Patric Niederhauser claimed his first GP3 victory since 2012 in the second race of the weekend at the...

    GP3
  28. Briatore to assist Formula 1 popularity drive 07:00

    Briatore to assist Formula 1 popularity drive

    Ex-Formula 1 team boss Flavio Briatore is set to be involved in a new working group being put together by Bernie Ecclestone...

    F1
  29. Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide – Part 6 05:00

    Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide – Part 6

    Sauber's Head of Aerodynamics, Willem Toet, continues his talk on the science of F1 wind tunnel design.

    F1
  30. 03:00

    Revised starting grid for the Hungarian GP

    F1
  31. Saturday 26 July 2014

  32. Mercedes apologises to Hamilton for fire 20:06

    Mercedes apologises to Hamilton for fire

    Mercedes has apologised to Lewis Hamilton after he suffered another technical problem during Hungarian Grand Prix...

    F1
  33. Coletti stripped of podium, Marciello loses pole 19:42

    Coletti stripped of podium, Marciello loses pole

    Racing Engineering drivers Stefano Coletti and Raffaele Marciello have been given post-race time penalties as a result of...

    GP2
  34. 17:09

    Latest GP3 photos: Saturday at Hungaroring

    GP3
  35. Stanaway holds on for Race 1 victory 17:08

    Stanaway holds on for Race 1 victory

    Richie Stanaway held off the advances of Robert Vișoiu to claim victory in the opening GP3 race of the weekend in...

    GP3
  36. Kvyat vows to learn from qualifying error 16:52

    Kvyat vows to learn from qualifying error

    Daniil Kvyat has vowed to learn from the mistake that prevented him from progressing to the final phase of qualifying in...

    F1
  37. Bianchi delighted with Q2 appearance 16:27

    Bianchi delighted with Q2 appearance

    Marussia driver Jules Bianchi was overjoyed after reaching Q2 for the second time this season during Hungarian Grand Prix...

    F1
  38. 16:03

    Latest GP2 photos: Saturday at Hungaroring

    GP2
  39. Pic claims maiden GP2 win in Hungary thriller 16:02

    Pic claims maiden GP2 win in Hungary thriller

    Arthur Pic claimed his maiden GP2 victory for Campos during a thrilling Feature Race at the Hungaroring, ahead of Stefano...

    GP2
  40. Magnussen to start from pit lane after crash 15:54

    Magnussen to start from pit lane after crash

    Kevin Magnussen will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from the pit lane as a result of the damage sustained in his qualifying...

    F1
  41. 15:50

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday at Hungaroring

    F1
  42. Vettel: Red Bull still far off Mercedes 15:49

    Vettel: Red Bull still far off Mercedes

    Sebastian Vettel has admitted that Red Bull remains a long way off the pace of runaway championship leaders Mercedes,...

    F1
  43. Bottas surprised by second row grid spot 15:36

    Bottas surprised by second row grid spot

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has admitted to feeling surprised over his third-place starting position for the Hungarian...

    F1
more news