Mark WebberMark Webber has criticised the revised podium procedure adopted by Formula 1 halfway through the 2012 season.

Since the British Grand Prix, which Webber won, the top three drivers have been interviewed live on the podium. The interviewers have varied from former world champions Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda, to opera singer Placido Domingo.

Another alteration has seen some tracks replace the drivers’ national flags formerly raised above the podium with electronically generated versions.

In the wake of the Abu Dhabi GP swearing controversy, which saw the FIA warn teams after Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen swore during their podium interviews, questions have been raised over whether the new format is more vulnerable to such slips than the previous system of televised unilateral press conferences.

Asked for his view on the swearing issue, Webber said he had been unimpressed with several aspects of the mid-season revamp.

“I think it is a new format obviously…” he said in the Austin paddock.

“I certainly wasn’t impressed in Silverstone with 1000 dignatories up there. I think the podium should be for the drivers, no one else.

“A clear shot of celebration of the drivers and what they have achieved. Not having everyone stand in front and having their five minutes. That pissed me off.

“You need real flags. The electronic flags look rubbish. You need real flags waving in the wind.

“Drivers [interviewing] on the podium…? I am 50/50 on that.”

Webber believes it is inevitable that drivers’ language will sometimes lapse when interviewed in the heat of the moment post-race.

“For swearing, that will never go away. It will always never be far away,” he said.

“You are full of adrenaline. You are excited. You have just had an incredible grand prix in general in those cases, so I think sometimes you might not use the right language, but now we have to be mindful of that.

“It is another part of the weekend where you have to keep an eye on things.”

Vettel said in America on Thursday that he felt the controversy had become overblown since Abu Dhabi.


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