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. Tuesday 26 May 2015

  2. Arrivabene: Ferrari outsmarted Mercedes 09:49

    Arrivabene: Ferrari outsmarted Mercedes

    Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene says the squad outsmarted Mercedes strategically in order to collect second position…

    F1
  3. Monaco Grand Prix: Winners and Losers 08:56

    Monaco Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

    Nico Rosberg took a third straight Monaco win as dominant Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was skewered by an incorrect pit…

    F1
  4. Video of the Day: Red Bull's Energy Station 05:23

    Video of the Day: Red Bull's Energy Station

    Find out more about Red Bull's floating Energy Station, which it brought to the Monaco Grand Prix.

    F1
  5. Monday 25 May 2015

  6. 17:04

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  7. Montoya: First Indy 500 win was easier 15:45

    Montoya: First Indy 500 win was easier

    Juan Pablo Montoya described his first Indianapolis 500 win as "easy" compared to his victory at the 99th running of the…

    Indy
  8. Video: Max drives Jos around Monaco 14:27

    Video: Max drives Jos around Monaco

    Watch as Max Verstappen takes father Jos for a lap of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit in a Renault Clio.

    F1
  9. Smith, Espargaró set for Suzuka 8 Hours 13:42

    Smith, Espargaró set for Suzuka 8 Hours

    MotoGP team-mates Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaró will form part of the rider line-up for the factory Yamaha team at this…

    MotoGP
  10. Rosberg still thought Hamilton would win 11:52

    Rosberg still thought Hamilton would win

    Nico Rosberg has explained that he still thought Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton would win the Monaco Grand Prix despite his…

    F1
  11. Video: Indianapolis 500 highlights 11:12

    Video: Indianapolis 500 highlights

    Watch highlights from the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500, won by Juan Pablo Montoya.

    Indy
  12. Massa hits out at 'dangerous' Verstappen 10:21

    Massa hits out at 'dangerous' Verstappen

    Williams driver Felipe Massa has criticised Max Verstappen following the Toro Rosso rookie's contact with Romain Grosjean, and…

    F1
  13. Kvyat buoyed by best Formula 1 finish 10:02

    Kvyat buoyed by best Formula 1 finish

    Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat expressed his delight after securing the best result of his short Formula 1 career at the Monaco…

    F1
  14. Video: Ricciardo, Räikkönen make contact 09:42

    Video: Ricciardo, Räikkönen make contact

    Daniel Ricciardo barged past Kimi Räikkönen for fifth with this move late in the Monaco Grand Prix.

    F1
  15. Räikkönen expected Ricciardo penalty 09:36

    Räikkönen expected Ricciardo penalty

    Kimi Räikkönen says he expected Daniel Ricciardo to be penalised by the stewards after their clash in the closing stages of…

    F1
  16. Pérez: Force India maximising opportunities 08:34

    Pérez: Force India maximising opportunities

    Sergio Pérez says his Force India team is maximising its opportunities after he started and finished in seventh position at the…

    F1
  17. Video of the Day: Prost on Renault's F1 plans 05:27

    Video of the Day: Prost on Renault's F1 plans

    Renault ambassador Alain Prost discusses the French brand's future intentions regarding Formula 1.

    F1
  18. 01:12

    Championship standings after Monaco

    F1
  19. Sunday 24 May 2015

  20. 21:54

    Latest IndyCar photos: 99th Indy 500

    Indy
  21. Montoya wins thrilling Indy 500 21:41

    Montoya wins thrilling Indy 500

    Juan Pablo Montoya has won the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 in a back-and-forth battle with several cars, beating…

    Indy
  22. 18:02

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday in Monaco

    F1
  23. Button says points a 'hugely positive step' 17:40

    Button says points a 'hugely positive step'

    Jenson Button says scoring points in the Monaco Grand Prix marks a "hugely positive step" for the renewed McLaren-Honda…

    F1
  24. Renault 'going in the right direction' 17:30

    Renault 'going in the right direction'

    Renault believes that it is heading "in the right direction" after the brand recorded its best result of the season at the…

    F1
  25. Verstappen given five-place grid penalty 16:47

    Verstappen given five-place grid penalty

    Max Verstappen has been given a five-place grid penalty for the Canadian Grand Prix following his clash with Romain Grosjean in…

    F1
  26. 16:35

    Follow the 99th Indianapolis 500 live!

    Indy
  27. Vettel pleased to capitalise on Mercedes error 16:15

    Vettel pleased to capitalise on Mercedes error

    Sebastian Vettel expressed his satisfaction after capitalising on Mercedes' strategic error in the closing stages of the Monaco…

    F1
  28. Wolff apologises for Hamilton pit blunder 16:01

    Wolff apologises for Hamilton pit blunder

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for the pit blunder that cost him a near certain Monaco Grand Prix…

    F1
  29. Rosberg admits Monaco victory 'lucky' 15:38

    Rosberg admits Monaco victory 'lucky'

    Nico Rosberg has admitted that he was lucky to win the Monaco Grand Prix after the late drama involving team-mate Lewis…

    F1
  30. Video: Verstappen crashes out in Monaco 15:27

    Video: Verstappen crashes out in Monaco

    Max Verstappen dramatically crashed out of the Monaco Grand Prix after a collision with Romain Grosjean.

    F1
  31. 15:15

    In full: Monaco Grand Prix race result

    F1
  32. Rosberg wins in Monaco amid late drama 15:01

    Rosberg wins in Monaco amid late drama

    Nico Rosberg claimed a third successive Monaco Grand Prix victory after Mercedes controversially opted to pit team-mate and…

    F1
  33. 12:42

    Follow the Monaco Grand Prix live!

    F1
  34. 11:31

    Revised starting grid for the Monaco GP

    F1
  35. Video: Van Buuren, Bonifacio in huge crash 11:20

    Video: Van Buuren, Bonifacio in huge crash

    Meindert van Buuren and Bruno Bonifacio clash spectacularly during the FR3.5 race in Monaco.

    FR 3.5
  36. Jaafar takes maiden win in messy race 11:02

    Jaafar takes maiden win in messy race

    Jazeman Jaafar followed up his first pole in Formula Renault 3.5 with victory around the streets of Monaco on Sunday…

    FR 3.5
  37. Brundle positive over Pirelli's 18-inch tyre 08:47

    Brundle positive over Pirelli's 18-inch tyre

    Ex-Formula 1 driver turned television commentator Martin Brundle praised Pirelli's efforts after trialling the company's 18-inch…

    F1
  38. Video of the Day: Rosberg's Monaco tour 05:12

    Video of the Day: Rosberg's Monaco tour

    Nico Rosberg and David Coulthard go on a trip around Monaco ahead of the Grand Prix.

    F1
  39. Saturday 23 May 2015

  40. Di Grassi disqualified, d'Ambrosio gets win 20:34

    Di Grassi disqualified, d'Ambrosio gets win

    Lucas di Grassi has been stripped of his Berlin ePrix victory over technical breaches, promoting Jérôme d'Ambrosio to a maiden…

    FE
  41. 17:02

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday in Monaco

    F1
  42. Ricciardo feels miscommunication cost third 16:53

    Ricciardo feels miscommunication cost third

    Daniel Ricciardo believes a miscommunication from the Red Bull pit wall cost him a chance of claiming third place on the grid at…

    F1
  43. Di Grassi extends title lead with Berlin victory 16:44

    Di Grassi extends title lead with Berlin victory

    Abt driver Lucas di Grassi extended his Formula E championship lead with a comfortable victory in the Berlin ePrix on Saturday…

    FE
  44. Räikkönen expects to pay 'big price' 16:25

    Räikkönen expects to pay 'big price'

    Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen says he expects to pay a "big price" in the Monaco Grand Prix after qualifying back in sixth…

    F1
more news