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Palmer wants 're-think' of F1 stewarding after Suzuka penalties

Written by  Oct 11, 2018

Former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer has called for a rethink of how stewards approach wheel-to-wheel incidents following a number of penalty decisions during the Japanese GP.

On the opening lap alone, Max Verstappen was penalised after an incident with Kimi Raikkonen while Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso also were sanctioned for a battle at 130R and the final chicane.

Most interestingly though, Sebastian Vettel wasn't penalised for what some saw as an ambitious move into Spoon on Verstappen but it was that example Palmer considered a better example for F1 to follow.

"The FIA took no action, which was the right decision in a racing incident like this, but a number of other incidents in the race highlighted the problem F1 has with stewards' decisions at the moment," he wrote on his BBC column.

"One of the best battles you will ever see in F1 was Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica on the last lap in Fuji, in the rain, back in 2007.

"They were wheel-to-wheel for half a lap, pushing each other to the absolute limits and often going over track limits and rejoining in an unsafe manner.

"Ten years on, that same battle would result in penalties galore. Firstly for pushing another driver off track, then for rejoining the circuit in an unsafe manner, then for gaining an advantage by going off the track."

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As a result, Palmer believes the stewards shouldn't be so keen to intervene and need to let drivers fight on track.

"For me, wheel-to-wheel incidents that are debatable need to be given more leeway," he continued.

"Let's face it, F1 in 2018 hasn't seen a lot of overtaking or on-track action, so it seems a shame to be penalising drivers so often when there's a bit of wheel banging."

There was one incident that did get his attention for the lack of sanction, however.

"Not penalising [Kevin] Magnussen for a last-minute swerve on [Charles Leclerc down] a straight at 180mph and causing a collision seems strange," he said, though the stewards did later explain that decision too.

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