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Mosley plays down stewards overhaul talk

FIA president Max Mosley has played down talk of the need for an overhaul of Formula One's stewards system in the wake of the Belgian Grand Prix controversy

Despite suggestions following Lewis Hamilton's 25-second penalty for gaining an advantage by cutting a chicane in his fight for the lead that F1's stewards system could be improved, Mosley thinks there is little the FIA can do to make it better.

"I can't remember how many times we've discussed this," said Mosley during a visit to the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. "If you stand back from the thing it's extremely difficult.

"For example, we tried having a permanent steward who was an experienced team manager, in the form of Peter Warr, because that's what the teams wanted, but it didn't work for a variety of reasons.

"Then we had the semi-permanent stewards. We've tried every different system we could think of, but the fundamental problem is that this is an enormously complex sport, massively so compared with football or cricket. It's all to do with the technologies on the car.

"The easiest thing would be to do what football does, with a referee. If he pulls out a red card, even if the video shows he's completely wrong, the man's off, no discussion. There's no appeal, no anything, and in a way that's the best thing to do in sport.

"You have a page in the paper the next day saying the referee's a complete idiot, and then it's done - you don't have the sort of thing we have.

"It's expedient to be quick, because it stops the argument, but on the other hand you have to think how hard so many people are working to get a result in F1 - not just the driver but 800 or so people back at the factory, in most cases. You feel you owe it to those people to make sure the result is fair, and then unfortunately you get debate.

"If you take Belgium, there are people who think both things. There are Ferrari supporters who think the decision was wrong, there are probably some McLaren supporters somewhere who think it was right.

"I don't know. I'll wait to hear what the court of appeal says when it sees the facts. Whatever you do you have the dilemma of needing time and complexity to get a result that will be fair, or you can be rough and ready in pursuit of an instant decision."

McLaren are pressing ahead with their appeal against Hamilton's punishment in Belgium, and have claimed that they were told twice by F1's Race Control that Hamilton's giving back of the lead to Raikkonen was 'okay.'

Mosley, however, believes the team were wrong to enquire with F1 race director Charlie Whiting about whether Hamilton's actions were within the regulations.

"I think there were two mistakes made there," said Mosley about the exchange between McLaren and Whiting. "One is that McLaren should not have asked Charlie. The second is that he should not have answered.

"Because when that rain came down on one of the fastest circuits in the world and most of the cars are on dry tyres, it is a very dangerous situation.

"The worst thing is the possibility that you have a spin and a collision between two cars, which is a nightmare for us. That is something that none of our safety procedures can deal with.

"Charlie is in one of the most high-pressured situations and in that situation the teams should not answer him and he should not answer them because he is not in a position to give even the beginnings of a considered opinion. So there were two mistakes made.

"But the primary mistake in my view was the team's. The team should have decided on precedent, and from everything they know, what advice to give him (Hamilton). I'm not going to express an opinion but the correct procedure was for the team to decide what to tell their driver. Charlie's responsibility is to see that nobody gets killed.

"What I think Charlie said was: 'I think it was OK'. At least that's what I've been told. I'm not there and that will be for the court to decide. It's all going to the court of appeal and it's all open to the press."

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