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November 3rd, 2011
Mark Webber believes that Formula 1′s race stewards should be less eager to hand out penalties for collisions – after another controversial coming-together between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa.
With stewards having been stricter this year in punishing contact on track, Webber thinks a more considered approach may be better for incidents that are not totally clear cut.
Opinions have been divided about exactly who was to blame in the Indian GP clash between Hamilton and Massa, with the stewards ruling that it was the Brazilian’s fault because he could have prevented the crash.
Webber is not so convinced though, and thinks it would be better in such circumstances to let matters go.
“You could argue all day about the rights and wrongs of the latest crash involving Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa but it was a 50-50 incident in my opinion,” he wrote in his latest column on the BBC F1 website.
“The corner they collided at is quite a quick one – fifth gear at about 135mph – so the brakes don’t go on much. It’s very difficult to pass there but Lewis got a good run off Turn Four and got down the inside of Felipe.
“It was the age-old thing. Lewis went for it, Felipe was still going to commit to the corner, then Lewis tried to back off and couldn’t.”
Speaking about the culture of handing out punishments for almost all crashes, Webber said: “F1 is getting into a bit of a road-car culture with penalties. The attitude seems to be that someone must be to blame when there is an incident.
“In this case, the stewards thought Felipe could have given Lewis a bit more room and therefore handed him a drive-through penalty.
“Yes, Felipe could have made space for Lewis but, in my view, it wasn’t clear-cut. The drivers have always said that they want the stewards to be consistent – and, to be fair, that’s what they are trying to be.
“If someone’s had an absolute howler, then fine, give them a penalty but sometimes it might be better just to say it was one of those things – what we call in F1 “a racing incident” – and let it go.”