BBC commentator Martin Brundle has revealed that he would support harsher penalties being meted out to drivers if he was a Formula 1 steward.
In a bid to give additional credibility and transparency in the Race Stewards’ decision-making, FIA President Jean Todt instituted a policy of appointing a former racing driver to the panel, rotating to a different ex-driver at each Grand Prix. Since this rule was introduced, we have seen the liked of Alain Prost (Bahrain), Tom Kristensen (Australia), Johnny Herbert (Malaysia) and Alexander Wurz (China) grace the role. The likes of Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Mika Salo and Heinz-Harald Frentzen are expected to participate in the same role in coming rounds.
Writing in his regular BBC column, Brundle argued that Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton should both have been penalised for their near-collision in the pit lane at the Chinese Grand Prix (pictured below).
"They both received a reprimand, but what does that mean? How long does a reprimand last and how many are you allowed to collect before a real penalty?" he wrote.
"They are lucky I wasn’t the resident driver steward for the weekend because I would have strongly recommended dropping them both some penalty places on the grid for the next race in Barcelona.
"The decision taken has set a very dangerous precedent," he added.
Brundle also went on to write that Chinese GP winner Jenson Button should have also copped a penalty for his ‘slowing-down’ tactics behind the Safety Car, which caused the field to bunch tightly and there were nearly several accidents in the midfield.
"I wouldn’t have been a popular steward with my former McLaren team but that job is not a popularity contest. Ask any referee," Brundle said.