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. Saturday 23 July 2016

  2. 12:46

    Follow qualifying for the Hungarian GP!

    F1
  3. FIA warns of drive-through over track limits 11:11

    FIA warns of drive-through over track limits

    Formula 1 Race Director Charlie Whiting has warned that drivers are likely to receive drive-through penalties if they repeatedly…

    F1
  4. 11:04

    Hungarian Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    F1
  5. Rosberg tops FP3, Red Bull splits Mercedes 11:03

    Rosberg tops FP3, Red Bull splits Mercedes

    Nico Rosberg edged out Max Verstappen by two thousandths of a second during Saturday morning's final free practice session for…

    F1
  6. 09:52

    Follow final practice for the Hungarian GP!

    F1
  7. De Vries takes stunning maiden GP3 pole 09:27

    De Vries takes stunning maiden GP3 pole

    McLaren young driver Nyck de Vries secured his maiden GP3 pole position with a stunning last-gasp effort during qualifying at…

    GP3
  8. Haas: No driver decision until after Monza 08:20

    Haas: No driver decision until after Monza

    Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner says the squad will not make a decision on its 2017 driver line-up until after the European…

    F1
  9. Video of the Day: Newgarden quizzed 05:26

    Video of the Day: Newgarden quizzed

    IndyCar quizzes Josef Newgarden on his knowledge of the series and his own motor racing career.

    Indy
  10. Friday 22 July 2016

  11. 17:02

    Latest F1 photos: Friday at Hungaroring

    F1
  12. Recurring fuel issue hampers Palmer 16:45

    Recurring fuel issue hampers Palmer

    Renault driver Jolyon Palmer was left to rue a recurring fuel system issue which restricted his running during Friday's practice…

    F1
  13. Vettel: Mercedes' advantage no surprise 16:44

    Vettel: Mercedes' advantage no surprise

    Sebastian Vettel says Mercedes' advantage over the field during Friday practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix came as no surprise…

    F1
  14. Bottas, Sainz Jr. reprimanded over pit entry 16:19

    Bottas, Sainz Jr. reprimanded over pit entry

    Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr. have been reprimanded by the Hungarian Grand Prix stewards for pit entry violations during…

    F1
  15. Rosberg lauds 'impressive' opening day 15:43

    Rosberg lauds 'impressive' opening day

    Nico Rosberg hailed an "impressive" Mercedes performance during Friday practice at the Hungaroring as the team dominated the…

    F1
  16. 15:34

    Latest GP2 photos: Friday at Hungaroring

    GP2
  17. Gasly flies to GP2 pole position in Hungary 15:32

    Gasly flies to GP2 pole position in Hungary

    Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly set three lap times quick enough for pole position as he dominated GP2 qualifying at the…

    GP2
  18. Hamilton apologises to Mercedes for shunt 15:22

    Hamilton apologises to Mercedes for shunt

    Lewis Hamilton has apologised to Mercedes after his accident during Friday's second practice session for the Hungarian Grand…

    F1
  19. Ricciardo sure Red Bull is second best 15:05

    Ricciardo sure Red Bull is second best

    Daniel Ricciardo says he and Red Bull are "where we expected to be" after finishing second to Mercedes during Friday practice in…

    F1
  20. 14:34

    Hungarian Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  21. Rosberg fastest in FP2 as Hamilton crashes 14:33

    Rosberg fastest in FP2 as Hamilton crashes

    Nico Rosberg set the pace during Friday afternoon's second free practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, again comfortably…

    F1
  22. Hamilton checked over after FP2 crash 13:42

    Hamilton checked over after FP2 crash

    Lewis Hamilton was checked over at the Hungaroring medical centre following his crash in Friday afternoon's second practice…

    F1
  23. 12:52

    Follow second practice for the Hungarian GP!

    F1
  24. Formula V8 3.5 grid reduced to 13 drivers 12:39

    Formula V8 3.5 grid reduced to 13 drivers

    Absentees mean that the Formula V8 3.5 grid has been reduced to just 13 drivers for the British round of the championship at…

    FV8 3.5
  25. Leclerc feels he could handle GP3/F1 step 11:58

    Leclerc feels he could handle GP3/F1 step

    Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc says he would feel ready to make the step up from the GP3 Series to Formula 1 for 2017 if such…

    F1
  26. Video: Nico Rosberg/Toto Wolff on new deal 11:02

    Video: Nico Rosberg/Toto Wolff on new deal

    Nico Rosberg and Toto Wolff comment on the German's two-year contract extension with Mercedes.

    F1
  27. Mercedes sees Rosberg as the 'real deal' 10:55

    Mercedes sees Rosberg as the 'real deal'

    Toto Wolff has described Nico Rosberg as the "real deal" after the German signed a contract extension, tying him to Mercedes…

    F1
  28. 10:36

    Hungarian Grand Prix: Full Practice 1 results

    F1
  29. Hamilton leads Rosberg in first practice 10:35

    Hamilton leads Rosberg in first practice

    Lewis Hamilton edged out team-mate Nico Rosberg during Friday's first free practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, which…

    F1
  30. 08:52

    Follow first practice for the Hungarian GP

    F1
  31. Rosberg signs two-year contract extension 08:18

    Rosberg signs two-year contract extension

    Nico Rosberg has signed a new two-year contract extension at Mercedes, after a drawn-out negotiation process, taking him through…

    F1
  32. Magnussen optimistic of new Renault deal 06:45

    Magnussen optimistic of new Renault deal

    Kevin Magnussen says he is optimistic that he will remain with Renault in 2017, as it bids to move up the Formula 1 grid, though…

    F1
  33. Video of the Day: Vettel's Hungary guide 05:12

    Video of the Day: Vettel's Hungary guide

    Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel previews this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit.

    F1
  34. Thursday 21 July 2016

  35. 17:12

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday at Hungaroring

    F1
  36. Rosberg dismisses suggestions of pressure 17:11

    Rosberg dismisses suggestions of pressure

    Nico Rosberg has dismissed suggestions that he is feeling the pressure after his 43-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton was cut…

    F1
  37. Vettel blasts 'bulls**t' radio issues, track limits 15:39

    Vettel blasts 'bulls**t' radio issues, track limits

    Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has hit out at radio restrictions, labelling them as "complete bulls**t", and has also criticised the…

    F1
  38. Ericsson hails Sauber ownership change 14:27

    Ericsson hails Sauber ownership change

    Marcus Ericsson hailed Sauber's change of ownership as "very good news" after the Swiss team confirmed that Longbow Finance had…

    F1
  39. Gutiérrez says he has 2017 F1 deal 14:15

    Gutiérrez says he has 2017 F1 deal

    Haas driver Esteban Gutiérrez says he will remain on the Formula 1 grid into the 2017 season, though could not offer a…

    F1
  40. Bottas queries revised radio regulations 13:48

    Bottas queries revised radio regulations

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has queried the revised radio regulations, and potential penalties, amid tweaks for this…

    F1
  41. Mayer appointed CEO at Manor Racing 13:36

    Mayer appointed CEO at Manor Racing

    Manor has announced that it has appointed Thomas Mayer as its new Chief Executive Officer, with his appointment effective from…

    F1
  42. KTM 'very confident' after Austria outing 12:23

    KTM 'very confident' after Austria outing

    Incoming MotoGP manufacturer KTM says it is "very confident" after participating in its first group test session at the Red Bull…

    MotoGP
  43. FIA modifies Formula 1 radio restrictions 11:40

    FIA modifies Formula 1 radio restrictions

    The FIA has issued further clarifications over radio messages permitted under the Sporting Regulations, following Mercedes…

    F1
more news