Coulthard calls for common sense in FIA rules
|Tuesday, June 20th 2000, 17:03 GMT|
You could be forgiven for feeling a little sympathy for David Coulthard, who has said that the FIA rule book could use an injection of common sense.
Rules applied to the absolute letter by the stewards in Montreal meant the Scot missed out on valuable championship points after being awarded a 10 second stop-go penalty when running second to the eventual Canadian Grand Prix winner, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.
The McLaren driver stalled his MP4-15 at the very last minute before the cars pulled away for the formation lap for Sunday's race and the Woking team's mechanics frantically restarted the car. But in doing so, McLaren had contravened the FIA rules, which state that all personnel should be clear of the grid 15 seconds before the start of the parade lap. Needless to say, Coulthard felt somewhat hard done by afterwards
"I believe that just because our engine was started 15 seconds before the start of the parade lap, this has got to be one of the weakest rules for imposing a 10-second penalty," said the Scot.
Although Coulthard accepted responsibility for stalling the engine, he stressed that his gripe was with the inflexibility of the rules, and not their specific application during the Canadian GP.
"I made a mistake and paid the price," he said. "I can live with my mistakes. I am just a little bit frustrated with some of the rules applied in F1. I really feel, and it's not a criticism of the stewards because they have to apply the rules as they are written in the book, that they should be allowed the chance to apply a little common sense as to whether someone has gained an advantage or not. This deprived the crowd of a good race."
Coulthard has felt the wrath of the race stewards once already this season, at Brazil, where he was stripped of six points after his front wing was too low. Unlucky or not, many observers would say that rules are rules and allowing any amount of interpretation is to create grey areas – never a good idea in any form of competition.
Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the situation, the steward's decision on Sunday has without doubt thrown a spanner in Coulthard's title challenge. Come the end of the season, should the Scot find himself a race victory short of Championship glory, events in Canada may come back to haunt him.
For full race results from Canada, click here