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5 things the FIA could do to restore the integrity of Formula 1

The sporting integrity of Formula 1 is in tatters. But can it be saved?

    1. Publish, in full, the Detailed Analysis and Clarification Exercise of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

    This is crucial. The whole world watched as the FIA Race Director intervened, against the rules, to either deliberately or unbelievably-negligently change the likely outcome of a race, and the championship.

    Announcing an investigation was a good step.

    But only publishing a summary of the conclusions is not okay.

    The full report, including all evidence and submissions from all parties, must be published on the internet for everyone to read. This would ensure that all the fans understand the decision-making process on the day, after the race, and in the following months.

    2. Have penalties applied automatically by computers where possible

    Many people have a cognitive bias against intervening. Asking a steward to decide whether someone gained an advantage by leaving the track, and if so what penalty is suitable, forces them to take a decision.

    But for things like leaving the track, pit lane speed limits, minimum safety car distance, etc., the penalty could be instantly and automatically issued by a computer. The role of the stewards is then to decide whether there are mitigating circumstances that justify overturning the penalty.

    This would ensure that more penalties are applied equally and fairly, but still allow for "common sense" - e.g. if Bahrain Dog runs across the racetrack so the leader drops back from the Safety Car, the penalty can be overturned.

    3. Stewards' decisions should be made blind, where possible

    It's impossible to be fully objective. Literally impossible.

    And even people who are trying their best to be impartial can still be influenced by their conscious and unconscious biases.

    Where possible, stewards should make decisions about incidents using only telemetry data and anonymized written reports that do not mention which drivers or teams are involved. This would require a panel of stewards away from the racetrack, kept in isolation.

    This would help to mitigate any suggestion of bias towards or against any particular teams or drivers.

    4. Broadcast a live feed of the Stewards' room during sessions

    When watching football, we get to see in real-time the VAR reviewing replays and checking for fouls.

    F1 has all the technology and infrastructure to add a Stewards Room feed to F1 TV, enabling us to watch and listen as they discuss incidents and decide what action to take.

    Transparency of process breeds confidence in outcomes.

    5. Independent oversight

    The FIA governance processes seem to be somewhat effective at resolving disputes between teams.

    But in recent years, the FIA itself has been party to the disputes.

    The FIA should implement an appeal process that enables disputes to be raised with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, or some other independent body.

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