Stewards defer decision on Guenther Steiner inflammatory comments after hearing

Thomas Maher
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner at the Monaco Grand Prix press conference. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Haas' Guenther Steiner at the Monaco Grand Prix press conference. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Haas’ Guenther Steiner was called before the stewards at the Spanish Grand Prix, due to comments he made during a press conference on Friday.

Shortly after the start of final practice for the Spanish GP, the FIA issued a summons to Haas’ team boss Guenther Steiner.

The governing body called Steiner before them for an “Alleged breach of Articles 12.2.1.c, 12.2.1.f and 12.2.1.k of the FIA International Sporting Code during a media conference conducted on June 1, 2023.”

The relevant sections of the International Sporting Code reveal that Steiner was called up to answer charges pertaining to “Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any Competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”

Article 12.2.1.f is perhaps the most pressing of the issues the FIA identified, which allows for punishment for “Any words, deeds, or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers, and more generally on the interest of motorsport and on the values defended by the FIA.”

The final article bars any “Misconduct towards, but not limited to: licence-holders, officials, officers or members of the staff of the FIA.”

With the hearing now having been held on Saturday in the Barcelona paddock, a decision from the stewards is not expected until Sunday morning. recommends

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What did Guenther Steiner say?

On Friday, Steiner took aim at the stewarding processes after his driver Nico Hulkenberg was given a time penalty after being found guilty of causing a collision on the first lap of the Monaco Grand Prix. The German driver had overtaken Logan Sargeant in a wayward fashion into Mirabeau, with the stewards not giving him the benefit of the doubt for a first-lap clash.

Hulkenberg would be later given a further 10-second penalty for not serving the initial penalty properly. Steiner made his feelings clear that he was unhappy with the stewards’ decision and lashed out further at how races are overseen during his media session on Friday.

Complaining that the stewards had given a penalty when it wasn’t even clear contact between the two cars had occurred, Steiner said: “We need a different system for stewards.

“Because every professional sport has professionals being referees and stuff like this. F1 is one of the biggest sports in the world, and we still have laymen deciding on the fate of people who invest millions into their careers.

“And it’s always a discussion because there’s no consistency. And again, I don’t want to blame any particular person on this, but if you’re not all there all the time, it’s just like a job every… it’s not even a job. In a job you can get sacked! Because you get paid and, if you do a bad job, you get sacked.

“You cannot get sacked, because you don’t get paid. I think we need to step it up. I think that’s now time. We’re discussing this for years and years. And we always go back to this.

“And every other sport has professional referees. American racing – NASCAR, IndyCar – how many times do you hear problems with the stewards or with the race director’s decision? Very rarely. Very rarely.”

Steiner and a Haas representative will head to the stewards at 14:30 local time in Spain, while one of the stewards has recused himself from the hearing due to a potential conflict of interest.

Felix Holter will be replaced by Matthew Selley for the hearing, as Holter was a steward at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. He will be reinstated following the hearing and any associated deliberations and decisions.

“I take these things seriously, and I will have to tell them my opinion about it,” Steiner told Sky F1 after the summons.

“I had an opinion on Nico Hulkenberg’s penalty and, obviously, I voiced it. I don’t want to jump to a conclusion. I respectfully wait for it.”