Exclusive interview with steward Derek Warwick

Exclusive interview with steward Derek Warwick

13 November 2012 – Derek Warwick thoroughly enjoys the role of steward, but in Abu Dhabi was tasked with one of the most important decisions of the 2012 F1 season. Talking exclusively with GPUpdate.net, the former driver explains the situation leading to Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying disqualification. Plus, a rumour is ironed out…

Since the start of 2010, a driver has always been one member of the FIA steward panel. Having taken up the role on several occasions, it was Warwick adjudicating when Michael Schumacher forced Rubens Barrichello towards the wall at that year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. He was again the judge when Red Bull was almost banned from starting this season’s race at Hockenheim. It’s unlikely, though, that a call as crucial as that of Yas Marina will have to be made again any time soon.

Derek, Abu Dhabi gave us all sorts of thrills and spills. Let’s start with Sergio Pérez. He received a penalty for forcing Paul di Resta onto the grass before rejoining into the path of Romain Grosjean. Do you subscribe to the feeling that the Mexican is feeling the pressure of a McLaren contract?
First off, I believe the penalty was correct…you cannot drive off the circuit and then come back on and take out another competitor. I think he has lost a bit of concentration with his future sorted and having signed for a top team. He’s probably not used to so many journalists being interested in him - but it’s something he will have to get used to, I’m afraid.

Is it fair to point out that Grosjean was not guilty, on this occasion, for his incidents with Nico Rosberg and, as we mentioned, Pérez?
Yes, definitely. He was an innocent party.

Kimi Räikkönen won the race following Lewis Hamilton’s retirement. The reaction was typical Kimi, but could he have shown more enthusiasm?
Naa…Kimi is Kimi and we love him for it. Maybe he’s cleverer than we give him credit for; he’s found a niche in the market that some people love. Why should he just be someone you want him to be?

Okay…Red Bull. Firstly, it took the stewards four and a half hours to reach a decision on Saturday night. Why was there such a delay?
We had so much data to go through which I wasn’t happy with, they then brought us more data - which was okay - but it meant that time just disappeared. It’s better to make the right decision than rushing the wrong one.

You took the words out of my mouth. It was surely better to reach the right decision, even if that did mean some members of the press were annoyed…
If the journalists and general public could see what the stewards do, they might get a little more credibility…

…it’s not as simple as a yellow card in football, is it?
Correct.

There was a feeling going around the paddock that the decision had been delayed because Charlie (Whiting, FIA delegate) was eating dinner – is that true?!
Absolute rubbish! Charlie never gets directly involved with any decisions…we sometimes ask for his take on something we might be a little unsure about, but I can assure you that the stewards are totally in control and independent.

Do you feel Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull and Renault were fully cooperative?
I think the team sometimes over think things and bring us too much information but, yes, Red Bull were fully cooperative.

Perhaps unlike Hockenheim, then? They pushed the limits there…
All F1 teams push the limits and I think we should give Red Bull credibility for pushing the limits. This is F1 and the cutting edge of technology, with the best engineers and drivers in the world by far. They will always find an edge if they can.

Now we move on for the final chapter in Austin and São Paulo. Remove the Derek Warwick steward badge and put on the fan cap - who’s your money on?
I would love the title to go down to the last lap in Brazil, but unfortunately the Ferrari is not quick enough so Red Bull and Seb will walk it.


Derek Warwick was talking with GPUpdate.net’s Gregory Haines

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