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Zak Brown

Brown defends stewards amid recent heavy criticism

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has addressed the current complaints from some drivers and fans of there being a lack of consistency in the stewards decisions.

Brown McLaren
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McLaren CEO Zak Brown has defended Formula 1 stewards after recent high-profile complaints about their decisions and penalties that have been awarded.

The recent Chinese Grand Prix saw two incidents penalised very differently, despite one appearing to be significantly less severe than the other.

In the China Sprint race, Fernando Alonso received a 10-second time penalty and a staggering three penalty points for "causing a collision" with Carlos Sainz. To most, it seemed nothing more than hard racing, although it was viewed differently by the FIA.

A day later in the main race, Alonso's team-mate Lance Stroll received a 10-second time penalty and two penalty points, after driving into the back of Daniel Ricciardo ahead of a safety car restart.

Stroll appeared to be looking elsewhere when several drivers ahead – including Ricciardo – had to brake at the Turn 14 hairpin, resulting in the Aston Martin driver causing a collision. Ricciardo went into the back of McLaren's Oscar Piastri as a result.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack questioned the consistency of the stewards after the Chinese GP, whilst Brown believes it is very easy to pick out the stewards' errors rather than praise their correct decisions.

Brown was asked for his thoughts on the recent complaints about the stewards by RacingNews365.

"Yeah, I think I wouldn't want to have a steward's job at a race weekend," Brown joked.

"I think in any sport, the referees, the umpires, the stewards, it's a bit of whenever things go according to plan, they don't probably get the recognition they deserve.

"And then when there's a tough call that's to be made, especially, you've got subjective calls and black and white calls and like those are quite easy.

"But when you get into some more of the driving standards and blocking forms the accidents, and there's not a lot of time to make a decision, those are pretty tough."

'Room for improvement'

Brown's comments came during a joint-press conference with McLaren Formula E Team Principal Ian James, who was also asked for his thoughts on stewards' consistency, as it is an often discussed topic in the all-electric series.

Undoubtedly, Brown pointed out that there is areas where the stewards can improve, with the American echoing a point made by James.

"So I'd say there's always room for improvement," continued Brown. "I think technology is helping all sports better officiate.

"You win some you lose some, sometimes they go away, sometimes they don't. And to Ian's point that you just want to make sure that the punishment fits the crime."

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