The appointment as steward of an Italian driver with close ties to Ferrari has raised some eyebrows within the F1 paddock in Abu Dhabi.
Emanuele Pirro, who contested grands prix in the early 90s for the Scuderia Italia team, is making his first appearance as an FIA official this weekend for the 2010 world championship showdown.
48-year-old Pirro now races vintage Ferrari cars, and on his website is a picture of a 1971 Ferrari 512M with the caption ‘All Italian boys love Ferraris’.
The news has led to claims he should not be adjudicating at a grand prix where a Ferrari driver – Fernando Alonso – stands to win the title.
An FIA spokeswoman told the Daily Mail: “We selected the stewards some while ago.”
Bild correspondent Tobias Holtkamp wrote: “Imagine it’s the World Cup final, with Italy playing Germany. And the referee is from Rome.
“It’s unthinkable. Only in formula one is it possible.”
Race director Charlie Whiting responded: “I have no problem with it.
“A few years ago Max Mosley as FIA president ordered that only stewards not associated with a team or driver can be appointed.
“In practice, this was unfortunately not sustainable. There simply are not enough to choose from.”
© RIF | GMM