The reliable Charlie Whiting

Hamberg

FOTA VIP, I've got the avatar to prove it :)
Contributor
Button's "race ruined by McLaren's inability to look at a TV screen and realise a penalty was imminent, apparently relying on the frustrated Button's estimate that he was ahead of Massa when he took his short cut." Latest edition of Autosport.

How many times do we see this? There seems to be a massive reliance on Charile Whiting to give the teams answers, particularly when it involves giving a position back.

There are of course always extenuating circumstances as to why a driver/team feels that they should be allowed to hold that position and as such asking race control for assistance is probably a natural reaction.

It's a strange one, my understanding of the situation is that even if Whiting does respond then it's only advice and can be overruled by the Stewards?

It was clearly in the rules that Hamilton could keep that position gained from Trulli behind the safety car, yet they gave it back - and well the rest we all know too well. Result = 4th place instead of 3rd (the rest is a different thread).

Alonso and his team were actually given advice but didn't take it at the exact time. Result = Kubica drops off meaning that Alonso would lose a significant amount of time and two places. Penalty.

Button argued the point and despite numerous replays and a nearly 14 second gap before Alonso took (was given) the position. Result = Penalty and loses a place to at least Alonso and possibly Webber.


Why do we think, despite the amount of times it backfires, teams rely on Charlie in these circumstances so much?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I must confess, I'm not exactly sure what Charlie's role is, apart from the obvious functions he performs with regards to starting the race, safety cars, etc.

As you've already mentioned, the teams seem to rely on him for advice but ultimately that would appear to be only his opinion.
Belgium 2008 is another example where Charlie has given advice which was subsequently overruled by the stewards.

The more pertinent question is why the teams continue to rely on him when it has been shown time and time again that he has little or no power when it comes to rulings?

A little common sense would seem to be the order of the day in most cases but of course the teams will try it on as much as they can.
With all the data and video available these days though, it's ultimately futile.

With regards to Button's penalty last weekend, that was quite clear in my opinion and all he had to do was cede the place back to Massa before trying again, observing the newly-introduced 2 corner rule ( :rolleyes: ).
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I think, essentially, he's the only reference save for precedent that they have. I'll deal with the examples in turn:

Australia 2009: I think, quite frankly, at that point McLaren were getting extremely paranoid about the nature of the FIA's stewarding in the previous year. They shouldn't have given the place back, but their paranoia was justified - lying to the stewards, while not acceptable, has never been a dsq offence!

Britain 2010: I personally believe that Alonso was still seething from Hamilton's drive-thru in the previous race at Valencia when he effectively lost nothing, and he was willing to try it on. Kubica's retirement compounded the issue, but Alonso did have an opportunity and showed no inclination to take it.

Australia 2011: Button was being daft if he thought he could get away with passing Massa down a slip road, and the evidence of the pictures is that Alonso genuinely passed Massa on the track despite our reasonable doubts. He should have let both red cars through, as is the precedent.

Belgium 2008: I'm not reopening that can of worms! My opinion on that is pretty well documented!
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
I think one of the advantages of the F1 decision making system is it is faceless. When things go wrong nobody is quite sure who they are blaming.
 

Hamberg

FOTA VIP, I've got the avatar to prove it :)
Contributor
I must confess, I'm not exactly sure what Charlie's role is, apart from the obvious functions he performs with regards to starting the race, safety cars, etc.
Well according to this the types of decisions that don't expose a safety risk to any driver or spectators are not within Charlie's remit. The Chairman of the Stewards and Clerk of the Course have different roles.

http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/6836/fia.html
The clerk of the course shall work in permanent consultation with the race director. The race director shall have overriding authority in the following matters and the clerk of the course may give orders in respect of them only with his express agreement:
a) the control of practice and the race, adherence to the timetable and, if he deems it necessary, the making of any proposal to the stewards to modify the timetable in accordance with the Code or Sporting Regulations,
b) the stopping of any car in accordance with the Code or Sporting Regulations,
c) the stopping of practice or suspension of the race in accordance with the Sporting Regulations if he deems it unsafe to continue and ensuring that the correct restart procedure is carried out,
d) the starting procedure,
e) the use of the safety car


So one has to wonder what they are doing?! I think this probably links back into your thread Brogan on the consistency (or lack of rather) of applying rules as outlined in the sporting and technical regulations
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Indeed.
After reading that it's clear that Charlie's opinion is worthless in matters such as this.

Makes you wonder why teams continue to ask him for advice with regards to incidents, corrective action to be taken, and penalties.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/8684/ At every Grand Prix meeting there are seven key race officials who monitor and control the activities of the stewards and marshals to ensure the smooth and safe running of the event in accordance with FIA regulations.

Five of the seven officials are nominated by the FIA. These are the race director (currently Charlie Whiting), a permanent
starter and three additional stewards, one of whom is nominated chairman. The additional stewards must be FIA Super Licence holders.

The other two key officials are nominated by the National Sporting Authority (ASN) of the country holding the race. These are the clerk of the course and an additional steward (who must be a national of the host nation). Both must be FIA Super Licence holders.

The clerk of the course works in consultation with the race director, who has overriding authority. The race director directs the clerk of the course on how to instruct the stewards during the various practice, qualifying and race sessions.
 

GeoffP

Thank you and good night
Contributor
I think old age must be striking, but I'm not sure that I get why teams put so much store in Charlie's opinion. Why is he going to think different to them? We looked at Button's "pass" and who really thought that he didn't have to relinquish the position?

Bearing in mind the steward's have demonstrated that it can take over 20 minutes to arrive at a decision is it fair to ask more of Charlie?

I think the reason that McLaren haven't even questioned the decision (seriously) is that by the time the professionals they employ to support the strategy and driver had calmed Button down, Massa had let Alonso past and had pitted - three cheers for Ferrari's tactics!

I may not be a particular fan of Ferrari right now, but they managed to make McLaren look stupid...

It's that old question, at what point are you responsible enough to take Ownership of your actions? I think in racing it's around the time you start to compete in karts.

I can't blame Charlie for not wet nursing the teams - we look to him to decide if the circuit/weather is safe, if a driver takes a liberty I'd hope there's something else in place to govern that and if the teams try to muddy that boundary, they will not get my support any more.
 

Hamberg

FOTA VIP, I've got the avatar to prove it :)
Contributor
That's the summarised version sportsman, looking at the regulation in detail I read it that they have distinct roles. I could be wrong. And where they do work in conjunction it's only where there is a safety concern.

12.5 The race director must be in radio contact with the clerk of the course and the chairman of the stewards at all times when cars are permitted to run on the track. Additionally, the clerk of the course must be in race control and in radio contact with all marshal's posts during these times.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
FORMULA ONE SPORTING REGULATIONS 16) INCIDENTS
16.1 "Incident" means any occurrence or series of occurrences involving one or more drivers, or any action by any driver, which is reported to the stewards by the race director (or noted by the stewards and referred to the race director for investigation) which :

- necessitated the suspension of a race under Article 41 ;
- constituted a breach of these Sporting Regulations or the Code ;
- caused a false start by one or more cars ;
- caused a collision ;
- forced a driver off the track ;
- illegitimately impeded another driver during overtaking.
Unless in the opinion of the race director it was completely clear that a driver was in breach of any of the above, any incidents involving more than one car will normally be investigated after the race.;
 

Hamberg

FOTA VIP, I've got the avatar to prove it :)
Contributor
A ha, ambiguity in the rules - surely not?!

Accompanied with rule 12 surely the part where it says "(or noted by the stewards and referred to the race director for investigation)" is only when the stewards are looking for a black flag and therefore have to inform the race director as he is the one that makes that decision?

All of the others are referred by the race director to the stewards. So I guess this means the drivers / teams are effectively trying to plead with Charlie not to refer to the Stewards then - however I can't see he has any choice but to if the impacted team requests it?
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
Indeed.
After reading that it's clear that Charlie's opinion is worthless in matters such as this.
Makes you wonder why teams continue to ask him for advice with regards to incidents, corrective action to be taken, and penalties.
Isn't it really just one team that does?
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
I don't think so. I think, as I said above, they don't have the stewards on the phone (quite right) and thus they talk to the only FIA appointee that they can talk to.
I accept that, but it seems to me that it is predominantly Mclaren who go seeking Charlie's advice and then come a cropper, when they would be better off making their own decisions based on their knowledge of the rules.

For example, once Button had failed to hand the place back to Massa at Melbourne, there was only really ever going to be one result, irrespective of any advice that Charlie may oir may not have given. We could see it, the commentators could see it, the stewards could see it; why couldn't Mclaren?
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I accept that, but it seems to me that it is predominantly Mclaren who go seeking Charlie's advice and then come a cropper, when they would be better off making their own decisions based on their knowledge of the rules.

For example, once Button had failed to hand the place back to Massa at Melbourne, there was only really ever going to be one result, irrespective of any advice that Charlie may oir may not have given. We could see it, the commentators could see it, the stewards could see it; why couldn't Mclaren?
I'm pretty sure Charlie could see it...!
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Everybody has been given contradictory information regarding the nature of Charlie Whiting's role, McLaren's response is to second guess every decision they make. They are paralysed with fear, the proverbial "rabbit caught in the headlights". Until they get up the gumption to tell Charlie and the FIA that they are not particularly bothered what those parties think, they will continue to faff about and fall over themselves and foul of avoidable penalties.
 

Porceliamone

This cost me a tenner, but so L'Oreal.
Contributor
For one, McLaren asked for clarification and received no response. Regardless of a common sense decision that should have been made by them, that fact alone is wrong.

Secondly, there was no consistent application of overtaking rules in that race and one might argue, any other!

Cars were off the track at a number of turns "gaining an advantage" and absolutely nothing was done to enforce the regulations stating that cars must remain on the track at all times. One would even go as far to say that some parties even praised overtakes such as these as acts of great driver skill.

I dunno, sometimes I wonder why I watch when I really think about things like this. :dunno:
 

Pyrope

Podium Finisher
Supporter
I dunno, sometimes I wonder why I watch when I really think about things like this. :dunno:
I know...

Joe Saward had the brass neck to tell me to "get over my problems with the FIA" when I mentioned to him that they weren't enforcing their own rules consistently... Seems that just because things aren't as bad as they were under Herr Mosely many old timers seem to think that it is all roses now!
 
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