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F1 NEWS 

Formula 1's penalty system set for an overhaul

F1 penalty system set for an overhaulFormula 1's driver penalty system is set for an overhaul, after it emerged the FIA is discussing changes to the way punishments are handed out.

Derek Warwick, who has acted as an FIA drivers' steward, said the validity of the current regulations had been discussed during a recent meeting of the stewards' council in Paris, and that "a few changes might be coming" as a result.

"We had a council meeting in Paris which I headed with Charlie [Whiting] and came away with some good ideas," Warwick told AUTOSPORT at the FOTA Fans' Forum at the Williams factory on Tuesday night.

"Whether anything can come of them and they can be introduced, I don't know - this is all a new process, we didn't use to have these meetings. Charlie will go away, analyse it and make recommendations. There might be a few changes coming along in the next few months or year.

"There is a code out there but I don't always agree with it - a drive through is too harsh a penalty for some incidents and not harsh enough for others. There is still room for tweaking.

"There were a few ideas to come out of the meeting with all the permanent stewards which were quite interesting. Charlie will produce an agenda and give it to Jean [Todt], but whether they can be introduced next year I don't know yet. This is all new, we didn't used to have these meetings."

Although Warwick could not disclose the exact details of the rules in discussion, he used the example of a drive through equating to different time losses at different circuits as part of the reason the rules were being reviewed.

"There are penalties inherited over time. Is a drive through at Canada, where you lose about 15s, the same as one at somewhere like Abu Dhabi for example?," he said.

"They all average out eventually, but I think we are always looking at changes."

Warwick also defended having a rotating panel of stewards, saying that the impartiality of the panel is beyond question regardless of who is on it.

"I can look back this year and think certain penalties have been too strong or too weak," he admitted. "If I step back I don't agree with some decisions, but that's because I don't have all the facts.

"I thought Schumacher should have been banned [following his move on Rubens Barrichello at Hungary 2010] but that wasn't the vote of the stewards.

"We haven't got all the facts. In the stewards room we have. We have all the angles, all the data and can make a more correct judgement."

Read more on how to improve penalties in Formula 1 in AUTOSPORT Plus.

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