Formula 1 Officials Roles And Duties
A Formula 1 race is a massive production, requiring the cooperation of thousands of people, including competitors, team members, and workers for the teams and the race track. Ensuring that everything runs smoothly–and quickly fixing the problem when it doesn’t–are the FIA delegates and race officials present at every event. These rules dictate the officials’ roles and duties at a Formula 1 race.
Every race has several FIA delegates present. These delegates, selected by the FIA, are not technically race officials, according to the Formula 1 rulebook. Rather, the role of the delegates is to function as assistants to the race officials. In particular, delegates are responsible for observing all events related to their particular field of expertise and ensuring that regulations are followed. Delegates do not make decisions or issue commands without consulting the officials, who are actually authorized to make such decisions.
The delegates must communicate their observations, making comments to the race officials about any relevant finding or incident. At certain times throughout the weekend and immediately following the race, the delegates are responsible for drawing up summaries of their comments and submitting them to the officials.
Anyone who serves as an FIA delegate–or a race official–must hold a current FIA Super License, the highest level of driver certification in the FIA. A Super License requires a significant amount of competition racing time to attain and pass an intensive exam on all of the technical and sporting regulations. It is the same license drivers must have to compete in Formula 1.
For each race, there are certain delegates that the FIA is required to select. If they choose, there are other delegate roles that the FIA may select. If the FIA does not make any optional selections, those roles are filled by Super License holders selected by the host country’s national sporting authority, or ASN.
The FIA must pick four delegates: the media, safety, medical, and technical delegates. The technical delegate is charged with directing all of the scrutineers. Among the delegates, the technical delegate is uniquely enabled to act without direction from the stewards, as they are permitted to order scrutineering inspections at any time. The media, safety, and medical delegates are merely permitted to observe relevant activities and report their observations to the officials
The delegate positions which the FIA may exercise its option to select, if it chooses, are a representative of the president of the FIA, deputy race director, deputy medical delegate, observer, safety car driver, and medical car driver.
Seven officials preside over every Formula 1 race. The officials are collectively responsible for making decisions, issuing commands, interpreting the rules, and assessing penalties. They are also in charge of running race control and generally executing every element of the race and race weekend operations. All of the officials (along with the technical delegate) are required to be present at the start of the race; during the race, they must all stay in radio contact.
The team of officials running each race consists of the race director, the clerk of the course, the permanent starter, and four stewards. The FIA selects the race director, the starter, and three stewards, while the host nation’s ASN chooses the clerk of the course and the remaining steward.
The race director serves as the general commander of operations and head referee of the competition. Their duties include helming race command and ensuring safety on and off the track. All of the delegates–and the clerk of the course–constantly report their observations to the race director, who issues commands that the delegates then execute. The race director does not change from race to race; instead, the same person serves in the role throughout the season, allowing for greater fairness and consistency in operations.
A race director controls all of the practice, qualifying, sprint sessions, and the race itself. They make sure all these events happen on schedule and propose schedule changes if necessary. The race director controls the starting procedure of the race and is responsible for delaying or stopping any session or race if the conditions become unsafe. They also decide when to deploy and withdraw caution lights or the safety car.
It is important to note that the race director does not make decisions regarding the administration of the rules regarding competitors and does not assess penalties. Instead, these decisions are handled by the stewards, who deliberate as a group and quickly issue a consensus opinion. When the race director becomes aware of any potential rules violation, they immediately alert the stewards, who make the final judgment in such a situation.
Serving as an assistant to the race director throughout the race weekend is the clerk of the course. They are authorized to issue commands on matters that the race director controls. However, they cannot act independently and may only relay commands that the race director has already approved.
The permanent starter is in charge of operating the starting lights and executing the starting procedure at the command of the race director. Like the race director position, the same person serves as the permanent starter at every race. This brings greater uniformity and parity to the starting procedure and the race overall.
The stewards are in charge of adjudicating any situation where a competitor may have broken a rule and issuing penalties accordingly. They are solely responsible for making the decision to take disciplinary action against a driver or team. Neither the race director nor the other officials have any input into the stewards’ deliberations.
One of the four stewards must be a retired Formula 1 driver. This requirement is intended to ensure that the driver’s perspective is fairly represented in the stewards’ judgments.
The four stewards act as a team and are in constant communication, either in person or via radio. They have access to video feeds from every area of the track and garages, audio from each team’s radio communications, as well as technical diagrams and measurements of every car provided to them by the scrutineers.
The stewards use all of this information and any input from the race director or other officials or delegates to decide on disciplinary issues in seconds or minutes. This fast response is crucial to delivering the fair, safe, and entertaining racing that Formula 1 delegates and officials work hard to deliver week after week.