Haas team principal Guenther Steiner called for a permanent panel of stewards in Formula 1 after disagreeing with a penalty Nico Hulkenberg received during the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Haas driver dived to the inside of Logan Sargeant at Mirabeau, locked up his left-front wheel and appeared to make contact with both the Williams and possibly the rear of Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin in the process. However, in their decision document published during the race, the stewards did not specify which driver Hulkenberg was deemed to have collided with and stated the incident took place at “turn six”, the Fairmont hairpin.
Speaking to media including RaceFans, Steiner said he did not understand why Hulkenberg had been penalised.
“I’d like to find out [why], because there’s nobody can explain it to me,” Steiner said. “I tried to look at pictures and I think there was no collision.
“The decision, for me, I still don’t understand it. I was told in the video you can see a collision. I looked at numerous pictures and I cannot see a collision. And somebody wants to tell me there is a collision, he has difficulty to. There is no collision.
“How can you be sure of a collision and if you don’t know if it is one or not, what is it then? Innocent until proven guilty. Not guilty until I prove innocent, in my opinion. That is how a law works, in my opinion.”
Steiner says he cannot understand why Hulkenberg did not receive a black-and-white warning flag rather than a penalty after Stroll was shown the warning flag for making minor contact with Hulkenberg’s team mate Kevin Magnussen at Anthony Noghes later in the race. He also pointed out other incidents this season where drivers have collided more egregiously with rivals and who have not been peanlised, such as when Nyck de Vries hit Lando Norris into the first corner of the Miami Grand Prix.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
“Lap one, we get the penalty for what I think is not a collision,” Steiner said. “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.
“And then we look at the accident in Miami between de Vries and Norris in lap one, that was no collision? It’s like, ‘guys’…”
Formula 1 operates with a panel of four stewards nominated by the FIA. While all stewards have significant experience in motorsport and are regularly former drivers themselves – with many of them serving on multiple stewards panels during a season – the composition changes for each grand prix weekend.
Steiner says the uncertainty over Hulkenberg’s penalty shows that F1 should move to a permanent panel of stewards.
“We have just to go back to ‘do we need a different system for stewards?’,” Steiner said. “Because 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 laymans deciding on the fate of people which invest millions in their careers. And it’s always a discussion because there’s no consistency. Again, I don’t want to blame any particular person on this, but if you’re not all there all the time…
“This is like a job [but] it’s not even a job, because in a job you could get sacked, because you get paid. And if you do a bad job, you get sacked. You cannot get sacked because you don’t get paid. I think we need to step it up.”
He wants F1 to follow the example of other series.
“I think it’s now time, we’ve been discussing this since years and years, and we always go back to this – every other sport has professional referees.
“American racing, NASCAR, IndyCar – how many times you hear problems with the stewards or with the race directors’ decision? Very rarely. But they are doing it completely different. There is full-time people working there.”
Bringing the F1 news from the source
RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.
By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.
We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2023 Spanish Grand Prix
- Ben Sulayem raises safety concerns over “too many people on the grid” at races
- Why Ferrari say their change in design is the result of “discipline”, not “copying”
- Hamilton and Russell were seeking tow from Sainz when they collided – Mercedes
- Red Bull’s Spanish GP diffuser update was ‘inspired by rivals’ including Williams
- Why McLaren always doubted second-row start in Spain would lead to points finish