Lewis Hamilton has suggested that Formula 1 should consider implementing artificial intelligence (AI) to handle on-track incidents instead of traditional stewards. This comes after Max Verstappen avoided a grid penalty despite being summoned for three impeding incidents at the Singapore Grand Prix.
One incident in particular, where Verstappen impeded Yuki Tsunoda, drew significant scrutiny. However, the stewards only issued a reprimand, which contradicted previous rulings on impeding incidents throughout the season. As a result, the FIA has decided to disregard this verdict against Verstappen.
Verstappen himself admitted that the incident with Tsunoda was not good, explaining that he did not see him because he was on the radio discussing car issues and only became aware of Tsunoda when he was already behind him. Red Bull, the team Verstappen is a part of, was fined by the FIA for its role in the incident.
Hamilton’s suggestion to implement AI in dealing with on-track incidents stems from a larger issue within Formula 1—lack of consistency in steward decisions. Haas team boss Guenther Steiner previously criticized the stewards for their inconsistent rulings, citing an incident involving Nico Hulkenberg in Monaco where he received a time penalty for what seemed to be a legitimate overtake.
In Formula 1, there are no permanent stewards, and personnel changes race weekends due to the logistical challenges of having a single set of stewards attend every race. The panel typically consists of one member nominated by the national sporting authority of the host country, while the FIA selects three members, one of whom acts as chairman. Additionally, there is usually a former racing driver on the panel to provide insight into a driver’s perspective during an incident.
Rather than hiring permanent stewards, Hamilton proposes exploring the use of AI technology to improve decision-making. He believes that the current impeding rule has remained unchanged for too long and suggests that AI could potentially make better decisions in such situations.
Hamilton’s idea raises interesting questions about the role of AI in motorsports. While AI can analyze data and make decisions based on algorithms and patterns, there is an ongoing debate about whether it can replicate human judgment and account for variables such as driver intent and context. Additionally, concerns may arise regarding the reliability, accuracy, and fairness of AI-driven judgments.
As Formula 1 continues to evolve and explore technological advancements, the idea of incorporating AI into decision-making processes may be an intriguing avenue to consider. However, it is crucial to carefully examine the implications and limitations of AI in motorsports, ensuring that it enhances the sport’s integrity, fairness, and excitement.