Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says it is time for Formula 1 to employ permanent stewards after being frustrated by a penalty for Nico Hulkenberg in Monaco.
Hulkenberg (pictured at right, above, with Steiner) was penalized for causing a collision when overtaking Logan Sargeant on the opening lap, potentially making contact with Lance Stroll ahead of him. However, Steiner says there is no definitive footage that shows any contact was made, and pointed to numerous other collisions that went unpunished as a sign of the inconsistency in decision-making from volunteer stewards that necessitates the need for full-time professionals.
“Do we need a different system for the stewards?” Steiner asked. “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 laymen deciding on the fate of people that invest millions in their careers. It’s always a discussion because there’s no consistency.
“I don’t want to blame any particular person on this, but if they’re not all there all the time then this is just like a job every…. It’s not even a job, because in a job you can get sacked because you get paid, and if you do a bad job you get sacked. You cannot get sacked because you do not get paid. I think we need to step it up.
“I think it’s now time. We’ve been discussing this for years and years and we always go back to this. Every other sport has professional referees, American racing — NASCAR, IndyCar, how many times do you hear problems with the stewards or with the race director’s decisions? Very rarely. But they are doing it completely differently, there are full-time people working there.
“I’m always saying ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ not that I have to prove that I was innocent, because that doesn’t work for me — that’s not how I look at life.”
Confirming he had asked the FIA for an explanation and proof of the collision, he says there was no clear reasoning for why it wasn’t treated as a lap 1 incident that shows a further gap in the policing.
“Yes, we asked that and we got a very broad… It was never really decided and nobody really knows what was decided, so now they try to make a definition of what is a lap 1 incident. We had it last year with the black and orange flag, which we got three times and in the middle of season they changed the rules.
“For every team, especially for the teams from P5 to P10 this year, every point counts. Obviously we weren’t in the points and I wouldn’t say that we would have been in the points, but to prevent it in the future can you imagine if you were in the points and you got a penalty for this? This could change your end-of-year result, and by not having done anything wrong. So it’s pretty disappointing.”