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. Friday 28 August 2015

  2. 12:11

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  3. GPUpdate lets readers ask Hülkenberg questions 12:02

    GPUpdate lets readers ask Hülkenberg questions

    Earlier in the season, GPUpdate.net gave readers the chance to quiz Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Lotus driver Romain…

    F1
  4. Márquez tops first practice at Silverstone 10:50

    Márquez tops first practice at Silverstone

    Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez topped the times during Friday morning's opening practice session for the British Grand Prix at…

    MotoGP
  5. Video: IndyCars cross Golden Gate Bridge 09:36

    Video: IndyCars cross Golden Gate Bridge

    Ahead of this weekend's IndyCar season finale at Sonoma, series drivers completed a demonstration run across San Francisco's…

    Indy
  6. Preview: Chasing Montoya, honouring Wilson 09:22

    Preview: Chasing Montoya, honouring Wilson

    As the IndyCar circus arrives in California for the resolution of a tense and complex championship battle, the sport also finds…

    Indy
  7. Servià to drive Wilson's car at Sonoma 07:38

    Servià to drive Wilson's car at Sonoma

    Oriol Servià will drive Justin Wilson's Andretti car at this weekend's IndyCar finale at Sonoma in tribute to the Briton, who…

    Indy
  8. Video of the Day: Sound of a radio message 05:23

    Video of the Day: Sound of a radio message

    Mercedes partner BOSE covers radio tranmissions in the latest part of its 'Sounds of Formula 1' series.

    F1
  9. Thursday 27 August 2015

  10. Alonso expects 'completely different' second half 17:59

    Alonso expects 'completely different' second half

    Fernando Alonso is predicting a "completely different" performance from McLaren-Honda over the second half of the season, as the…

    F1
  11. Red Bull set to take Monza engine drops 15:12

    Red Bull set to take Monza engine drops

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat are likely to take grid penalties at the Italian…

    F1
  12. Frijns hoping for Andretti Formula E seat 14:24

    Frijns hoping for Andretti Formula E seat

    Robin Frijns has set his sights on securing the vacant race seat at Andretti for the upcoming Formula E campaign, but says…

    FE
  13. Video: IndyCar drivers preview Sonoma finale 13:02

    Video: IndyCar drivers preview Sonoma finale

    IndyCar drivers preview this weekend's season finale at Sonoma, which takes place under a cloud following Justin Wilson's death.…

    Indy
  14. Mallya confident of keeping Hülkenberg 10:42

    Mallya confident of keeping Hülkenberg

    Force India team boss Vijay Mallya says he is "quite confident" of retaining Nico Hülkenberg's services for the 2016 season…

    F1
  15. Chilton reveals Haas F1 discussions 09:37

    Chilton reveals Haas F1 discussions

    Former Marussia racer Max Chilton has revealed that he has held discussions with the arriving Haas F1 Team over a potential…

    F1
  16. Kvyat to demo Formula 1 car in Russia 08:22

    Kvyat to demo Formula 1 car in Russia

    Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat will showcase Formula 1 machinery in his native Russia on Sunday. Kvyat is set to get behind the…

    F1
  17. Video of the Day: Hamilton's summer holiday 05:06

    Video of the Day: Hamilton's summer holiday

    Take a look at what Lewis Hamilton got up to during his summer break away from Formula 1.

    F1
  18. Wednesday 26 August 2015

  19. Crutchlow pens new two-year LCR deal 14:35

    Crutchlow pens new two-year LCR deal

    British rider Cal Crutchlow has secured his MotoGP future until the end of 2017 after signing a new two-year deal to remain with…

    MotoGP
  20. Lorenzo sees 'great opportunity' at Silverstone 13:28

    Lorenzo sees 'great opportunity' at Silverstone

    Jorge Lorenzo says he sees a "great opportunity" for himself and Yamaha at this weekend's British Grand Prix, as he looks to…

    MotoGP
  21. Video: Repsol Honda's British GP preview 12:36

    Video: Repsol Honda's British GP preview

    Repsol Honda looks ahead to this weekend's British MotoGP Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit.

    MotoGP
  22. Chilton: Closed cockpits in five to 10 years 11:43

    Chilton: Closed cockpits in five to 10 years

    Former Marussia driver Max Chilton is certain that Formula 1 will adopt closed cockpits in the future, and expects the switch to…

    F1
  23. Feature: Belgian GP's key questions 11:21

    Feature: Belgian GP's key questions

    Ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at the historic Spa-Francorchamps, GPUpdate.net posed five questions and pondered the outcomes.…

    F1
  24. Vettel defends Ferrari's Belgian GP strategy 09:46

    Vettel defends Ferrari's Belgian GP strategy

    Sebastian Vettel has spoken out in defence of Ferrari's strategy at the Belgian Grand Prix, insisting that the decision to…

    F1
  25. Mark Sutton: Story Behind the Shot - Belgium 07:27

    Mark Sutton: Story Behind the Shot - Belgium

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net's race-by-race series, Story Behind the Shot, continues throughout…

    F1
  26. Video of the Day: Driven by Data - Downforce 05:23

    Video of the Day: Driven by Data - Downforce

    McLaren highlights how much downforce is generated by a modern Formula 1 car.

    F1
  27. Tuesday 25 August 2015

  28. 18:18

    Photos: FE pre-season testing – Day 6

    FE
  29. Prost heads e.Dams 1-2 on final test day 18:11

    Prost heads e.Dams 1-2 on final test day

    Nicolas Prost edged out team-mate Sébastien Buemi in a Renault e.Dams 1-2 on the final day of pre-season testing at Donington…

    FE
  30. 16:20

    Photo gallery: Justin Wilson (1978-2015)

    Indy
  31. Toro Rosso remembers 'true racer' Wilson 15:07

    Toro Rosso remembers 'true racer' Wilson

    Toro Rosso has paid tribute to Justin Wilson, who raced for the team in Formula 1 under its previous guise of Minardi, after…

    F1
  32. Smith extends Tech 3 deal through 2016 14:16

    Smith extends Tech 3 deal through 2016

    Bradley Smith has extended his contract with Tech 3 Yamaha through 2016. Smith made the step up to MotoGP with Tech 3 after…

    MotoGP
  33. Ferrari doesn't want 'fight' with Pirelli 13:19

    Ferrari doesn't want 'fight' with Pirelli

    Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene says the outfit does not want to get involved in a "fight" with Formula 1 tyre supplier…

    F1
  34. Horner on Renault: 'Business as usual' 12:43

    Horner on Renault: 'Business as usual'

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has insisted that it is "business as usual" with engine supplier Renault, amid speculation…

    F1
  35. Video: Wilson triumphs at Texas in 2012 11:47

    Video: Wilson triumphs at Texas in 2012

    Look back at Justin Wilson's triumph at the Texas Motor Speedway in 2012, his last IndyCar victory.

    Indy
  36. Motorsport pays tribute to Justin Wilson 10:38

    Motorsport pays tribute to Justin Wilson

    IndyCar and the wider motorsport community have been paying tribute to Justin Wilson, following the news of his passing on…

    Indy
  37. Remembering Justin Wilson, 1978-2015 08:16

    Remembering Justin Wilson, 1978-2015

    Justin Wilson died aged 37 on Monday evening after succumbing to injuries sustained in last weekend's IndyCar race at Pocono.…

    Indy
  38. Video of the Day: Formula E Tokyo run 05:04

    Video of the Day: Formula E Tokyo run

    Ex-F1 driver Sakon Yamamoto demonstrates a Formula E car around the streets of Tokyo in Japan.

    FE
  39. Justin Wilson succumbs to head injury 02:17

    Justin Wilson succumbs to head injury

    IndyCar driver Justin Wilson has died from a head injury sustained in Sunday's race at Pocono. Wilson was struck in the head…

    Indy
  40. Monday 24 August 2015

  41. 19:37

    Photos: FE pre-season testing – Day 5

    FE
  42. Bird on top as final Formula E test begins 19:34

    Bird on top as final Formula E test begins

    DS Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird clocked the quickest time as the final Formula E pre-season test got underway at a cold and wet…

    FE
  43. Wilson remains in coma with severe head injury 18:06

    Wilson remains in coma with severe head injury

    IndyCar has confirmed that Justin Wilson remains in a coma in hospital after he sustained a severe head injury during the…

    Indy
  44. Belgian Grand Prix: Winners and Losers 16:40

    Belgian Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

    Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton led home a Mercedes 1-2 while Lotus' Romain Grosjean returned to the podium. Here…

    F1
  45. Vandoorne delighted with home victory 16:04

    Vandoorne delighted with home victory

    GP2 Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne says it was "special" to claim his fifth Feature Race victory of the year at his home race…

    GP2
more news