Will new FIA disciplinary system guarantee fairer trials?

The FIA General Assembly has approved a major change to the disciplinary process that will take F1 controversies out of the hands of the World Motor Sport Council.

Cases will now be heard by a newly created International Tribunal, which will feature judges chosen by another new body called the Judicial Appointment Committee.

The change was one of the major planks of Jean Todt’s campaign for the presidency. In the recent past major legal cases – such as the McLaren Spygate affair – were notable for the close personal involvement of Max Mosley. Anyone reading transcripts or listening to recordings of such proceedings was left in no doubt as to who was in charge and seemingly combining the roles of judge, jury and executioner…

The new system is intended to create transparency and give competitors more confidence that they will get a fair hearing.

An FIA statement explained the new process as follows: “The International Tribunal (IT) will exercise disciplinary authority in the first instance for example in the FIA Formula One World Championship and will judge all infringements of the Statutes, the International Sporting Code and the regulations of the FIA, without prejudice to the powers of the stewards of the meeting at the events.  It will comprise 12 judges who will act totally independent of the World Councils and of other FIA bodies.  The decisions of the IT can be appealed before the ICA.

The International Court of Appeal (ICA) will keep its present powers and will essentially continue to operate in the same manner.  It will comprise 24 judges who will act totally independent of the World Councils and of other FIA bodies.

The IT and the ICA will be comprised of judges nominated by competitors of the five FIA World Championships”

In addition the FIA has ratified two major changes that were announced some months ago. Holders of Superlicences can now be disciplined for road traffic offences, while senior team members will be licensed and thus subject to bans.

Confirming the latter, the FIA said: “All those involved in the FIA World Championships are directly subject to the FIA’s jurisdiction.  Those who are guilty of conduct contrary to the FIA regulations will be denied access to the areas under the control of the FIA in the events counting towards these championships.  The procedure for implementing this system will be examined within the framework of working groups specific to each of the FIA World Championships.”

In addition the maximum fine that can be levied by stewards has risen from $100,000 to €250,000.

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