Monaco GP steward Derek Warwick says Nico Rosberg conspiracy theories wide of mark
"You will not find a more honest driver than Nico," says Warwick
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 02/06/14 4:39pm
Nico Rosberg: Won in Monaco
Derek Warwick, the ex-driver steward at the Monaco GP, has said that the clarity of Nico Rosberg's evidence played a key role in the Mercedes driver being cleared for any wrongdoing in his winning of pole last weekend.
Rosberg was put under investigation by the four-man panel following controversy over his final flying lap in Q3 when the German locked up and ran off the circuit at Mirabeau, triggering yellow flags which wrecked the final laps of the drivers behind him on the track and effectively confirmed him in pole ahead of team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton.
After studying video and telemetry evidence and hearing from the driver himself, the stewards ultimately ruled they "could find no evidence of any offence" and confirmed the 28-year-old's pole - which Rosberg on Sunday went on to convert into a second successive Monaco win to regain the lead of the World Championship.
Opinion, nonetheless, remained split in the paddock as to whether Rosberg had acted deliberately in running off the circuit with Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle suggesting that only a "minority" believed the driver's version of events.
Speaking about the process the stewards went through to come to their verdict, Warwick, a veteran of 146 grands prix and the current president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, says the panel acted in a thorough manner and were convinced by Rosberg's explanations.
"We had all Mercedes's data, including Lewis's data to overlay on Nico's. We had the FIA data. We had onboard shots, overhead shots, circuit shots. We had throttle traces, braking traces, everything we needed to make, hopefully, the right decision," Warwick told The Daily Mail.
"It was not black and white. It took a long time. We wanted to be sure and thorough. The driver is a massive component in what we end up deciding. So Nico was in the stewards' room for a long time with the team manager [Ron Meadows]. I wouldn't say I interrogated him; I interviewed him. I made sure I asked him all the right questions.
"I have been around a long time and seen people try to pull the wool over my eyes. Did I have doubts in my mind, of course I did. But he gave me the answers I needed. I know there are conspiracy theories but you will not find a more honest driver in grand prix racing than Nico. He said himself that he made a mistake, came in too fast, braked too late and locked up his rear tyres."
Had the stewards ruled against Rosberg then the German would have been stripped of his pole and sent to the back of the grid, as countryman Michael Schumacher was in 2006 when he deliberately 'parked' his Ferrari at the Rascasse.
Warwick added that Rosberg's position on the grid and in the championship made it imperative that the stewards got the decision spot on.
"You could argue that as president of the BRDC I would have a reason to come to a decision that would have favoured the British driver, but obviously that is not how I would approach it. I am there to be independent," the former Renault driver said.
"It is a big decision to make when you are deciding to move a driver to the back of the grid. It was doubly important to get it right because it could affect many things - probably the outcome of the race and possibly of the world championship."