Lewis Hamilton has called on Formula 1 to employ AI stewarding after the controversy surrounding Max Verstappen‘s non-penalities in qualifying at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.
Verstappen faced three separate investigations on Singapore Saturday but was cleared of one and only reprimanded for the others, despite at least two of the incidents seemingly warranting cast-iron penalties.
He blocked the end of the pit lane in Q1 before impeding Yuki Tsunoda in the next session, on his way to qualifying 11th and missing Q3 for the first time since the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP.
“Really, that rule’s been the same for ages,” Hamilton told the media. “I think we need to like start looking into AI for this sort of thing. So we get good decisions.”
When pressed on whether professional stewards were a potential answer, Hamilton was unequivocal: “I like to see whether AI could do a better job.”
Why were drivers unhappy with Verstappen’s reprieve?
Verstappen stopped at the end of the pitlane in Q1 at Singapore to build a gap to the car in front meaning he held up Charles Leclerc and both Mercedes, before also impeding Tsunoda at the end of Q2.
The AlphaTauri driver was aiming to beat Verstappen‘s time and knock him out of the session but after initially going green, the Dutchman’s interference meant Tsunoda couldn’t set a competitive time.
However, AlphaTauri didn’t even send a representative to the hearing, a move that Sky Sport’s Martin Brundle branded a ‘sporting disappointment’.
The FIA later admitted they’d made an error not handing Verstappen – or Logan Sargeant who was also investigated for impeding – a three-place penalty.
They also promised that the Singapore officiating wouldn’t set the new precedent, leading some drivers to question the consistency of stewarding, including Pierre Gasly who received a six-place grid penalty earlier in the season in Spain.
“I’ve had tough decisions against me, with a six-place penalty in Barcelona this year for impeding, and it was definitely way less than what I’ve seen yesterday,” Gasly said after the Singapore GP. “Maybe now this is allowed. I don’t know, I’ll ask.”