Briton's Howard Lapsley, India's Nazir Hoosein and Canada's Roger Peart have voluntarily given up their FIA Steward licencenses at the World Motor Sport Council meeting that took place today, in Paris, and will no longer officiate at FIA events. The three stewards were responsible for the fiasco that took place in Silverstone three weeks ago, where Michael Schumacher passed Alex Wurz under a yellow flag, only to be given a 10 seconds stop\go penalty later than the time span alloted by the FIA rules.
The three stewards were scheduled to face a disciplinary hearing today, and could have faced severe penalties. According to an FIA official, the three handed in their licenses "to prevent further embarrassment" to the sport. However, the FIA president, Max Mosley, defended the three later on today, saying they would still be able to apply for their licences to be returned.He added that they are "extremely experienced and competent officials who were working under extreme pressure in dangerous weather conditions at Silverstone."
Mosley also explained the World Council's decision to reject McLaren's appeal a couple of days ago, saying that the stewards would not have penalized Schumacher had they known back then how undetectable the yellow flag was, as was evident from video footage presented to the World Council. However, he said the FIA will learn from the whole ordeal in Silverstone and tighten the stewards' regulations during races to reduce the workload for stewards at future Grands Prix.
On a different matter, Mosley addressed the issue of team orders, following informal allegations that Eddie Irvine moved over for Michael Schumacher at Austria, allowing him to gain an extra championship point. The FIA declared team orders illegal, after this year's Australian Grand Pirx saw McLaren's David Coulthard move over for his team mate Mika Hakkinen, giving him a win for no apparent reason. However, Mosley today clarified that team orders are allowed in a case where one driver is fighting for the World Championship titles and the other is not.
"Team orders are not prohibited when they are made in the interests of winning the championship", Mosley said, "But they are not allowed when they interfere with the results in the competition, when it is an act prejudicial to the interests of the competition. It's been like that since time immemorial".