I got to thinking about summary justice when re-watching a ‘Season Review’ of 1982 a few days ago. If you’re familiar with the season you may recall an incident between Nelson Piquet and Eliseo Salazar at Hockenheim…

A simple lapping move came unstuck when the Chilean clumsily nurfed Piquet straight through a tyre barrier. The Brazilian leapt out of his car and flew at Salazar in a spectacularly inept hybrid of kick-boxing and bitch-slapping. Fantastic stuff.

I couldn’t help but think that you simply don’t see that kind of thing anymore. More’s the pity. The closest we got recently was Schumi rapping on Sato’s helmet at Spa last year, telling him he “needed therapy”.

And given how drab and dull the ‘racing’ tends to be these days, surely we should be glorying in any action that we can salvage from the sport. We should even demand that incidents and disputes are settled in public for our entertainment, not by stewards behind closed doors.

Surely the Scott Speed Australian GP episode would have been better settled Springer-style; Speed sending the ‘bleep’ machine into overdrive with rabid tirades, till DC jumps up from his chair and lands a Glasgow Kiss on the insolent upstart and gets dragged away by bouncers in front of whooping fans?

Springer, Trisha, Kilroy, Judge Judy… there are dozens of summary justice formats that would be perfect for settling F1 disputes. All of them more exciting than any race this year.

Kilroy’s whispering, patronising tone would have been perfect for defusing Michael’s Monaco faux-pas; the orange-skinned presenter sidling up to him, jamming a microphone in his petulant face and saying, “Hhmmmmkay, they all say you’re a cheat: How does that make you feel?”

And can you imagine how effective a crowd invasion of the podium in Austria 2002 would have been in helping inform Ferrari’s number one driver and strategists on the pros and cons of team orders?

Justice in F1 has certainly improved in both visibility and consistency with the introduction of permanent stewards, but there’s still a long way to go as the oddly matched penalties for Alonso and Schumacher at Hungary clearly showed.

The more immediate, open and impactful that a penalty can be, the better: they never impede genuine racing and sportsmanship – but simply reinforce the line over which you don’t step.
And if they could find a way to bring back the kick-boxing too, then I think the sport can only benefit.