Sir Stewart hits out at FIA

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Sir Jackie Stewart has expressed his surprise in the FIA's handling of penalties and costs in F1. In a column for RBS, Stewart said that he can't understand why the FIA raised the price for a super license and that he can't understand the penalties which are handed out by the governing body.

Stewart is also surprised to see how many penalties the McLaren team has received recently: "We've seen a rash of penalties handed out by the FIA recently - both in the form of grid penalties and in fines. There rarely seems to be any compassion or any real attempt to see the driver's side.

"The drivers are also complaining at a ten-fold increase in the cost of the super-licences which allow them to race. No one can see what they're getting in return for the extra charge, which makes it look like just another way for the FIA to raise money. I don't know of any other sport where the competitors have to pay for a licence to take part.

"You can also ask questions about the consistency with which penalties are applied. A lot of people - and not McLaren personnel - are saying that the FIA are more interested in finding faults at McLaren than at other teams. For example, in the French race, Kimi Raikonnen's exhaust system broke and part of it was visibly hanging off the car. Why wasn't he called into the pits to have the loose piece removed? That could have been the 'Make it happen' moment of the race. Eventually the loose bodywork flew off the car, which could easily have been dangerous to the public or to another driver. Some people will say that if it had happened with a McLaren, the team would have been fined."