Derek Warwick: Mark Webber & Fernando Alonso's Singapore reprimands warranted
"I hope we're not seen as killjoys," says driver steward
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 24/09/13 1:48pm
Singapore GP steward Derek Warwick has defended the decision to issue reprimands to Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso for their post-race 'lift' and insisted "it is not health and safety gone mad".
The incident on the slow-down lap at the end of the Marina Bay race - and the stewards' subsequent verdict on it - has proved a divisive talking point in F1 since Sunday night.
A clearly disgruntled Webber took to Twitter himself on Tuesday to label the ruling 'comical' after the reprimand triggered an automatic ten-place grid penalty for him at the next race in Korea owing to the fact it was his third different offence of the season.
The stewarding panel in Singapore, which former Renault and Arrows man Warwick served on in his capacity as an ex-F1 driver, ruled that both men had contravened different Articles in the Sporting Regulations in the incident - Webber punished for having 'entered the track without the marshal's permission' and Alonso for driving 'the car in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person' after the two Mercedes' had to take avoiding action.
But while the decision to punish the drivers has been criticised by many fans along with Jenson Button and Christian Horner, Warwick has insisted there were safety risks in that particular case.
"It is not health and safety gone mad," Warwick, who is the President of Silverstone's owner the BRDC, told the Daily Telegraph.
"A driver could easily have been hurt."
As part of his series of Tweets on Tuesday morning, Webber posted a montage of past example of drivers giving a stricken rival a lift back to the pits and, in a separate message with the words "Looks like even one of the Singapore stewards has done it...#C'estlavie", a picture of Warwick himself riding on the side of Gerhard Berger's Ferrari at the end of the 1988 Japanese GP.
Warwick, however, is adamant that although he personally would welcome a less "sterile" F1 environment, stewards can't turn a blind eye to potential safety concerns - and these certainly were at play on Sunday.
"I hope we're not seen as killjoys. I want Formula 1 to be entertaining. I want it to be a spectacle," the 59-year-old added.
"I'm a big fan of MotoGP and I wish we in Formula 1 could get closer to the drivers like they do in MotoGP.
"We have become a bit sterile in many ways in Formula 1. But we cannot put drivers at risk. If it had been done in a safer manner then it might have been viewed differently, but this was potentially very dangerous. You can't have cars parked in the middle of a corner."
Although yet to comment on the penalty issued to him, Alonso at least seemed to see the funny side of the furore by tweeting a mock-up of himself and Webber in the poster for the 2004 film 'Taxi':