The FIA has implemented a program for the 2010 season that allows former F1 drivers to act as race stewards. To date, Alain Prost, Alex Wurz, Derek Warwick, Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill have participated. Unfortunately, Hill was one of the stewards who gave Michael Schumacher a twenty second penalty for passing under yellow in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix. The penalty put Schumacher in twelfth position, out of the points. Schumi had been running in sixth position until the attempted pass of Fernando Alonso on the final lap.
As a testament to how many rabid fans Schumacher still has, Hill has received hate mail for his penalty on Schumacher. Hill admitted that he was uncomfortable penalizing his former rival, and questioned the role of former drivers as stewards. In an interview with The Times, Hill was quoted as saying:
“I imagined I would be there as a consultant providing driver insight to the stewards, who would then make the decisions. My expertise is as a driver rather than a lawmaker or interpreter of regulations.”
There’s no word on whether or not the FIA will modify the program. Former drivers are used to supervise the race alongside the FIA’s existing stewards, and do not act alone to assign or enforce penalties.