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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Steiner reprimanded for F1 stewards’ criticisms 

Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner has been given a reprimand by the Spanish Grand Prix stewards for comments he made regarding the FIA's handling of events in Monaco. 

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Steiner spoke out against the decision of the stewards at the Monaco GP to impose a time penalty on Nico Hulkenberg for an opening-lap collision. 

With Steiner feeling that Hulkenberg did not make any untoward contact, he said the time had come for the appointment of full-time professional stewards. 

"Every professional sport has got professionals being referees and stuff like this," he said. 

"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." 

Steiner’s comments did not go down well with the FIA, and he was summoned to answer potential misconduct charges for using language that could cause ‘offence, humiliation or to be inappropriate.’ 

Following a hearing on Saturday, Steiner was reprimanded but made it clear that he specifically used the word ‘laymen’ in reference to its official dictionary definition which is: “a person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject."

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23, Logan Sargeant, Williams FW45

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23, Logan Sargeant, Williams FW45

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

In a statement issued on Sunday morning, the stewards said: “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 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.” 

In a statement issued after the verdict, Steiner said the situation had been inflamed by misinterpretation about his specific choice of words. 

“I expressed to the Stewards my disappointment and disagreement with the decision taken by the Monaco Stewards last weekend,” said Steiner. 

“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 apologized if my statements were misunderstood or caused hurt to anyone as that was not my intention. I repeat that apology here.” 

In an interesting extra note on the statement, it was pointed out that Steiner told the stewards that had he wanted to insult and cause offence he would have done a better job in his criticisms. 

The statement added: “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."

 

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