Heidfeld wants permanent steward return

BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld wants to see a permanent steward reappointed to oversee penalties in Formula One in the wake of the ongoing controversy about the Japanese Grand Prix

Heidfeld wants permanent steward return

With the German at a loss to understand why some of the three penalties issued in Fuji were handed out, he admits he now does not understand what actions will be punished and what will not be.

When asked in Shanghai about whether he was worried that from now on any mistakes on track put him at a risk of facing sanction, Heidfeld said: "Until the last race I wasn't, but in the last race I think penalties were not justified.

"I did not see the race in full, I only saw the highlights quickly afterwards, but the one on the start with (Lewis) Hamilton was for me not worth a penalty at all. It is just racing. What did he do (wrong)?

"The other one with (Sebastien) Bourdais was also not understandable. The one that is acceptable, maybe arguable, but you can at least follow what they may be thinking, is the one that (Felipe) Massa got for turning around Hamilton. In my view it does not need to be given, but okay it could be. The other two I don't understand."

Heidfeld felt that the renewed questions about the consistency of stewards' decisions meant it was worth considering reinstating a permanent steward.

Last year, permanent steward Tony-Scott Andrews stood down from his position at the end of the season. That led to a restructuring of the organisation, with FIA president Max Mosley's representative Alan Donnelly providing a permanent advisory function to the three stewards appointed at each event.

Heidfeld said that the matter would likely be brought up in the regular Friday night drivers' briefing with F1 race director Charlie Whiting.

"I am sure it will be asked and discussed what was going on there," explained Heidfeld. "As I have said before and, as we had last year, I would like to see it come back where we have one guy, like Tony Scott-Andrews.

"I was on the receiving side also, I think Bahrain a few years ago I did not agree with (a penalty), but it was a lot more consistent and for me a lot better than what we have had this season.

"The consistency was a lot better last year, and it is easier than if there are just some guys who are coming to a few races. They don't have the insight compared to a guy who is always there.

"It is not that easy to (keep) consistency because each accident is different in each case, but I don't understand what happened there (in Fuji) and I don't even think you (the media) do."

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