Renault broke a gentlemen’s agreement between the teams when they protested Haas’ VF-18 in the wake of the Italian Grand Prix; that’s according to Guenther Steiner.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean raced to sixth place at the Monza circuit, however, the celebrations were cut short as Renault protested the legality of the floor of the VF-18.
Haas were disqualified as the floor did not adhere to a technical directive issued by the FIA.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz moved up from ninth to eighth place and the Enstone team held onto fourth place in the championship ahead of Haas.
“My opinion is that for a long time there was not a protest after the race – it’s a long, long time [since the last one],” Steiner told ESPN.
“I’m a little bit surprised but then I’m not because what would do you do?
“I wouldn’t have done the same. I would have done what other people have done before.
“But Renault is in a position that they need to make sure they are not overtaken for fourth position. And I think they thought that they need to do something otherwise they finish fifth.”
Asked if he was referring to a gentlemen’s agreement between the teams, he replied: “Absolutely.
“They can say [before the race] if this is not fixed, we are going to protest you. That’s what I was talking about because it was before my time the last time this was done.
“I don’t know why they did it, but it’s one of these things. Renault did what it need to do, but I think a lot of people have questioned it internally and they are right to.”
Haas’ appeal will be heard in Paris on November 1 with Steiner admitting he’s not certain it will go in his team’s favour.
“It’s a 50:50, it could go both ways,” he told Autosport. “I would never say I was a confident winner, because you never know what is happening.
“You have no control on the decision, you do the best you can with your lawyers and technical team to explain what happened, the whole process, and why we ended where we were.
“We think they got it wrong. But then again I’m not on the Court of Appeal, so I cannot decide.”
He added: “It is very complex.
“It’s a technicality which goes hand-in-hand with procedures which were not followed correctly, not only from our side, but somebody else.
“It’s a mix of technical regulation, interpretation, ambiguity, information.
“I think the stewards didn’t understand what we tried to explain, and therefore they disqualified us.
“But I hope the Court of Appeal has got a better understanding and more time at their disposal for us so that we can explain how it went down.”