Guenther Steiner. Haas, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Steiner says race director gave Haas wrong deadline for United States GP protests

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Haas failed to submit its protest against Fernando Alonso in time after the United States Grand Prix because the race director misinformed them about when it needed to be received, said team principal Guenther Steiner.

The stewards originally upheld the Haas protest and penalised Alonso. But that decision was overturned on Thursday after his Alpine team prompted a review in which the stewards accepted the protest should not have been accepted.

The stewards noted Haas submitted their protest 24 minutes after the deadline, which expired 30 minutes after the provisional classification was issued. This was originally accepted as the stewards ruled it was “impossible” for Haas to submit their protest earlier.

However it came to light in the hearing that Haas had been “told by the FIA official in Race Control, that it had an hour to do so” and would otherwise have “submitted a handwritten protest to the stewards within the 30 minutes.” Alpine seized on this and used it to argue it had not been “impossible” for Haas to lodge their protest in time. The stewards agreed, ruled Haas’s original protest inadmissible, withdrew Alonso’s penalty and restored him to his seventh place finish.

Stewards said Wittich should have used black-and-orange flag in Austin
Steiner admitted the team was frustrated “about what we are told from senior officials of this sport and then not standing up for it.” Asked who had given him the incorrect information about the protest deadline, Steiner said: “The race director.”

Haas brought the protest because Alonso was not shown a black-and-orange flag by the FIA while running with a loose wing mirror, which eventually fell off. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen has been shown the same flag, and forced to pit, on three occasions this year.

In their original decision the stewards criticised Wittich for failing to show Alonso the black-and-orange flag.

“The black-and-orange flag, we didn’t get it once, we got it three times this year and then somebody else doesn’t get it,” Steiner told Sky. “That is just not right.

“So I don’t know, you cannot do a lot about it. I hope, I really hope, that this gets in control because it’s not good for the spectators that other people are treated differently.”

The FIA is to review the use of the black-and-orange flag following the controversy. “It’s a little bit late for us now after we got it three times already,” said Steiner. “So they should have looked into this before, not now, because what we got penalised for, you cannot make good. We potentially lost points and to change it now, there is no satisfaction for me.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Steiner says race director gave Haas wrong deadline for United States GP protests”

  1. Yeah, I can really understand the frustration for Haas. The way the FIA has been managing things really is a mess, and it does not seem that changing back to having one race director will necessarily solve that, since it didn’t make for consistency in Austin.

  2. Is the sport too complicated that now more than one race director does things incorrectly or gives wrong information? It’s annoying enough that the Sky commentators don’t seem to know the rules of the sport either.

  3. Wittich is Masi to the power of 10.

  4. Haas had been “told by the FIA official in Race Control, that it had an hour to do so”

    I’d love to hear what Wittich recalls of that conversation.
    Did he supply the wrong information? Or did he say half-hour and get misheard?
    Did the stewards tell them they were too late and then HAAS protest about misinformation when submitting the protest?

    1. That’s what I don’t really get. It has always been half an hour, any half serious F1 would tell you that. If Wittich didn’t know that than that is worrying – and weirdly Haas must have known that also and yet didn’t question it?

      There was a time many years ago children – when the FIA were barely seen or heard of at“.

      The FIA probably have their own PR department now.

  5. Let’s recap. When Haas with a flappy front wing end piece was in front of a Red Bull, Horner complained as it could have compromised a top team’s car, so Haas was immediately forced off the track. And a car in the midfield battle was allowed to drive a race with a floppy mirror and then no mirror. Never flagged to come in AND passed the post race inspection. When Haas complained, F1 double reversed on the decision, citing (and this is what makes me really laugh, that F1 needs to stick by the rules, which state that Haas’ protest was too late, according to the rules, which F1 always follows, except all the times they don’t. Definitely not a sport, it is pure entertainment.

    1. Yes, but this part of it is just plain bad entertainment. The soap-opera part of F1 is so tiring I sometimes dont care to watch because of it. This incident has been utterly mismanaged by FIA. Either let them all race, or punish them all, and if you do a mistake which race control apparently did, then you own up to it and settle the bill when it resulted in a wrong outcome. Also, Haas shouldnt be responsible for reporting anything in writing in the first place: the teams should focus on doing their own races, and race control alone should be responsible for supervising safety. F1 is like toddlers complaining to the kindergarden teacher about what the other kid is doing. Would be nice if it could revert to adult-hood again.

  6. Anyone who watched DTM would have known “Wittich” and “inconsistent” are basically the same thing, just spelled differently.

    Eduardo is a far far better race director.

    F1 made a mess again.

  7. They should have kept it in european hands

    1. @Femke Irrelevant if you mean commercial rights because this matter is solely FIA’s responsibility.

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