Guenther Steiner blasts FIA for favouring Max Verstappen

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has expressed frustration again over inconsistent decisions by stewards.

Guenther Steiner, the team principal of Haas, has voiced his discontent with the “inconsistent” decision-making process of the Formula 1 stewards following Max Verstappen’s avoidance of punishment for allegedly impeding Kevin Magnussen during qualifying.

Verstappen, a two-time world champion, was summoned to the stewards on Friday evening to present his perspective after being accused of impeding Magnussen’s flying lap during the initial phase of qualifying. 

However, the Dutchman ultimately evaded any penalties as the stewards concluded that Magnussen “did not have to take significant evasive action.”

Steiner, however, firmly believes that had a Haas car been implicated in a similar incident, the stewards would not have been as lenient. 

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In an interview with Sky Italy, he expressed his frustration, stating, “They’re inconsistent. Max didn’t do it on purpose, but the rules should be the same for everyone. 

“When I heard that they checked the audio of the sound of the engine and assumed Kevin didn’t slow down, and they concluded that Max didn’t do anything, I was confused because it was not true. 

“They’re so inconsistent with their decisions depending on who’s deciding. 

“If the situation had been reversed, we would’ve received a penalty. I’m almost sure about this.”

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The official FIA statement shed light on the drivers’ accounts of the incident. It quoted, “The driver of Car 1 [Verstappen] stated that he saw a car approaching after he crossed the line at the end of his push lap and moved to the left of the track after the exit of Turn 1.” 

It continued, “The driver of Car 20 [Magnussen] stated that he had to move to the right to avoid Car 1 and hence lost time on his fast lap.”

The stewards based their judgment on the video and audio evidence available. 

They determined that Magnussen had clipped the kerb in Turn 1, causing a slight change in acceleration, which subsequently resulted in a slightly slower time on the following mini sectors. 

However, the stewards concluded that Magnussen did not have to take significant evasive action.

READ: Lewis Hamilton penalised at 2023 Austrian GP

Steiner’s criticism stems from the perceived inconsistency in the stewards’ decisions, depending on the drivers involved. 

He believes that if the roles were reversed, Haas would have faced penalties for impeding another driver. 

This incident underscores the ongoing debate surrounding the consistent application of rules and penalties in Formula 1.