The FIA has announced an overhaul to the stewarding system at Formula One events for next season, including a new replay system designed to ensure faster decisions.

Race stewards fell under the media spotlight several times this season, most notably following Lewis Hamilton’s 25-second time penalty for cutting a chicane whilst battling Kimi Raikkonen at Spa.

The new measures should not only mean most decisions are made during rather than after the race, they should also make the whole process clearer to the public, with explanations and video evidence posted on the internet after the race.

In addition, there will be stricter requirements concerning the eligibility of stewards, with the FIA planning to invite a number of trainee stewards to races in order to build-up their experience.

Full FIA statement:
During the 2008 season a review took place of the stewarding arrangements in F1. The current panel of stewards consists of two international stewards and one national steward, all of whom must be eligible for the FIA’s super licence. For 2009, the following updates will be made:

- Any national steward participating who is officiating for the first time will be required to ‘observe’ a minimum of one Grand Prix prior to their event.
- At five Grands Prix in 2009, a number of trainee Stewards, nominated by their ASN and selected by the FIA, will be invited to attend.
- Before each Grand Prix, a short CV of each steward will be posted on the FIA website.
- With the benefit of a new replay system available to the stewards, all incidents will be investigated and appropriate action taken during the race, unless it is essential to seek further evidence afterwards.
- Following the race, a short written explanation of steward’s decisions will be published on the FIA website. This will supplement the formal steward’s decision which largely defines the breach of the rules.
- Where appropriate, additional film evidence that the public may not have seen but which was reviewed by the stewards, will be made available on both the FIA and FOM websites.

Note: No former driver is excluded from seeking their ASN national stewarding licence and then, as with all of the existing stewards, if they gain the necessary level of experience in stewarding events at a national, regional and international level the FIA can consider them for a steward’s super licence.