Lewis Hamilton has floated the idea of implementing Artificial Intelligence to deal with on-track incidents, rather than traditional stewards.
At the Singapore Grand Prix earlier this month, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen avoided a grid penalty despite being summoned for a trio of impeding incidents after qualifying.
His block of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was particularly scrutinised as he held up the Japanese driver between Turns 3 and 4, but was let off only with a reprimand from the stewards.
This seemed to go against previous impeding incidents in the 2023 season, with one steward admitting in Japan last time out that a mistake had been made. As a result, the FIA has decided that this verdict against Verstappen will effectively be scrubbed from the record books and disregarded.
Even Verstappen himself admitted afterwards that the incident with Tsunoda was poor to be involved in.
“That was not good. I didn’t see him because I was on the radio talking about what was the problem [with the car], he explained to media including RacingNews365.
“And then I didn’t get a call-up until he was basically behind me.”
Red Bull was fined by the FIA for its role in the incident.
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Hamilton wants AI
Earlier this year, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner got in trouble for criticising the stewards, hitting out at the lack of consistency used in their decisions after Nico Hulkenberg received a time penalty in Monaco for what appeared to be a bona fide overtake on Logan Sargeant on Lap 1.
F1 has no permanent stewards, with altering personnel used at different race weekends owing to the commitment it would take for a single set of stewards to attend each race weekend.
The make-up of the panel includes one member nominated by the national sporting authority of the host country, while the FIA selects three members, one of whom is appointed chairman, from a pool of qualified candidates.
There is also a former racing driver on the panel among the four stewards to provide thoughts on what a driver was thinking in an incident and try to take this into account when deciding what penalty, if any, will be issued.
But instead of hiring permanent roles to steward Grand Prix weekends, Hamilton has suggested that F1 should look into utilising machine technology.
“How many years have we… That rule has been the same for ages,” he told media including RacingNews365 of the impeding rule when asked about the Verstappen incident.
“I think we need to start looking into AI for this sort of thing, so we get good decisions. I would like to see whether AI could do a better job or not.”