Steiner reprimanded for Monaco stewards comments
By Ian Parkes
Sunday 4th June, 2023 - 9:23pm
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has been reprimanded by the FIA following heavy criticism of the Monaco Grand Prix stewards.
During a written media press conference at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday, Steiner vented his frustration over a time penalty awarded to Nico Hulkenberg for a first-lap ‘collision’ with Williams driver Alex Albon in last Sunday’s race.
Steiner refuted the fact there was any contact between the two cars, and that it was time the FIA employed full-time professional stewards to rule on incidents given the inconsistency with their decisions.
Pertinently, the Italian declared that “F1 is one of the biggest sports in the world and we still have laymen deciding”.
Steiner’s comments resulted in the FIA media delegate reporting the 58-year-old to the Spanish GP stewards for alleged breaches of three articles of the International Sporting Code.
They related to ‘any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motorsport generally’; ‘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’.
Further, ‘any misconduct towards…officials, officers or members of staff of the FIA’.
Following a hearing with the Spanish GP stewards – Felix Holter was recused due to a potential conflict of interest as he was a steward in Monaco and replaced by Matthew Seller – no further action was taken against Steiner with regard to two of the ISC articles, but he has been reprimanded with regard to the other.
A stewards’ statement read: “Article 12.2.1.k refers to ‘misconduct’ which is defined in the ISC as “..the use of language….which might reasonably be expected or be perceived to…cause offence, humiliation or to be inappropriate”.
“Mr Steiner’s word ‘laymen’ and his reference to other sports having ‘professional’ personnel could be, and indeed were, perceived to cause offence, and in our view, reasonably did cause offence, not only to the stewards in Monaco but also to other FIA personnel and many motorsport volunteers.
“However, the stewards accept Mr Steiner’s statement during the hearing, that his reference to professionalism was meant to refer to people who worked in a role as their profession and not that the stewards were acting unprofessionally.
“Further Mr Steiner stated his reference to ‘laymen’ was meant to refer to people who worked occasionally and not meant to refer to a lack of qualifications or specialisation.
“Mr Steiner also freely apologised – ‘if anyone was hurt by what I said or misunderstood what I said’. The stewards accept this apology.
“Mr Steiner stated that if he had meant to insult or offend anyone he would have used much different words. The stewards do not dispute this.
“The stewards note that any party has the right to disagree with any determination of the stewards of an event, however are strongly of the view that such disagreement should, and can, be expressed respectfully.”
Reiterating he has apologised, Steiner said: “I expressed to the stewards my disappointment and disagreement with the decision taken by the Monaco stewards last weekend.
“The stewards informed me that they had no issue with people disagreeing with decisions but were more concerned about the interpretation that had been placed on some of my comments.
“I explained to the stewards that I had not intended to offend anyone and that my use of certain words could have been open to misinterpretation or misunderstood by some people.
“I told the stewards that I apologised if my statements were misunderstood or caused hurt to anyone as that was not my intention.
“I repeat that apology here.”