Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner fined for comments critical of stewards in Russia
Haas boss was not happy with 5-second penalty handed to Kevin Magnussen in previous race
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner avoided a paddock ban but has been hit with an $8,250 fine for a controversial radio message sent to driver Kevin Magnussen on the cooldown lap following the Russian Grand Prix.
Steiner, notorious on the “Drive to Survive” Netflix documentary series for his colorful use of language, was furious following the checkered flag in Russia. He believed that Magnussen should have been classified eighth and not demoted to ninth and that the five-second time penalty dished out to the Dane was incorrect.
Unfortunately for the Haas boss, the situation regarding rejoining the track had been made clear to the drivers in the morning briefing. If a driver ran out wide and off the track, they must round the bollards before taking to the track again. This was meant to prevent unsafe moves being made when coming back onto the black stuff.
Magnussen failed to follow this procedure when defending from the Racing Point car of Sergio Perez and, unfortunately for him, was caught and hit with the penalty.
After his driver crossed the line, Steiner radioed, “If we didn’t have a stupid, idiotic steward, we would be eighth. You know who is the steward. You know him. It is always the same. He just does not get any more intelligent.”
The FIA was never going to take the criticism of one of their officials quietly, and although FIA officials had far more severe punishments that they could have dealt Steiner, they opted for a lenient approach, citing it as a first offense.
“This message over the team radio was broadcast to the public and has since been carried by a number of media outlets in both print and audio form,” read the official steward document. “(The message) is an insult to the stewards of the event and calls into question both the skills and the integrity of those stewards.
“The wording used by Mr. Steiner has caused moral injury to FIA officials, was prejudicial to the interests of motorsport and therefore shall be deemed to be a breach of the rules.
“Public personal attacks against individual officials are totally inappropriate and will not be accepted. Since no penalties have been imposed on Mr. Steiner for similar behavior in the past, a fine of the amount imposed is considered appropriate.”