Guenther Steiner tears into FIA stewards and demands immediate change

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg was hit with a penalty during the Monaco Grand Prix that the German and his team principal felt was unfair.

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner has demanded Formula 1 replace “laymen” stewards with qualified individuals who are capable of making the right call during races.

The criticism from the famously outspoken boss comes after Nico Hulkenberg was hit with a penalty during the Monaco Grand Prix that left the team seeking an overhaul of the current system.

The FIA currently uses a system of unpaid stewards, which Haas believes is outdated, with the American team urging the sport to bring in professionals on a permanent basis.

“I think we have to just go back to [the question]: do we need a different system for stewards?” Steiner said.

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“Every professional sport has got 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 in their careers. And it’s always a discussion because there’s no consistency.

“I think we need to step it up. I think it’s now time. I think we’re discussing this for years and years and we always go back to this.”

He added: “Every other sport has professionals for this: American racing, NASCAR, IndyCar. How many times you hear problems with the stewards or with race director’s decisions? Very rarely, very rarely. But they’re doing it completely differently.

“There are full time people working there. I’m always saying: innocent until proven guilty. And not that I have to be prove that I was innocent, because it doesn’t work for me. That is not how I conduct life.”

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Hulkenberg was hit with a five second time penalty and two points were added to his licence for causing a collision on the opening lap.

Having reviewed their video, Haas saw no evidence of a collision at the Turn 6 hairpin, demanding answers from the FIA for dishing out what they claim was an unfair penalty.

“It’s [turn] six, when they are in a line,” Steiner said.

“And the Aston Martin is in front. I just looked at the picture. And Nico comes from the inside and is in front basically, dives into the corner… but I cannot see a collision.

“So, I’m trying to get it explained to me, because I think it was completely wrong. It’s lap one, there was no collision. And in the end, what should we make, a parade?

“So, lap one: we get a penalty for what I think is not a collision. There are other people running into each other during the race – they get the black and white flag. So, I think it’s very inconsistent. Then we look at the accident in Miami between [Nyck] de Vries and [Lando] Norris, in lap one, that was no collision.

“I still don’t understand it. I was told in the video you can see a collision. But I looked at numerous pictures, I cannot see a collision.”

With the penalty looming over him early on, Hulkenberg would struggle during the race, finding himself finishing in P17, 2 laps behind race winner Max Verstappen.

Looking ahead, Steiner is hoping to have his complaints about poor levels of stewarding and inconsistent decision making with the Formula 1 commission in the hopes of securing a change for future races.

“For me, the first thing is, do we want professional stewards or not,” Steiner said. 

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“And then we need to decide is it a panel, or what is the best?

“I don’t want to decide on it [by myself] but I think we have got a lot of issues with this. We need to recognise this one, and F1, it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest sport in the world now, and I think we need to step it up. That’s my opinion about it.

“We have referees in football, and they are full time. Thirty years ago, you had the local bakery guy being referee, but that has changed now. They changed it because it needed to be professional, and they are responsible.”