Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner has been handed a reprimand for comments made during his Spanish Grand Prix media briefing.
Steiner had launched an attack on the FIA race stewards and inconsistencies in decision-making after Nico Hulkenberg was penalised at the Monaco Grand Prix.
“We need a different system for stewards," said Steiner.
"Every professional sport has 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 which invest millions into their careers.
“And it’s always a discussion because there’s no consistency.”
The FIA stewards issued a summons ahead of Spanish GP qualifying citing alledged breaches of Articles 12.2.1.c, 12.2.1.f and 12.2.1.k of the FIA International Sporting Code.
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What was Steiner under investigation for?
12.2.1.c Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any Competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.
12.2.1.f Any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers, and more generally on the interest of motorsport and on the values defended by the FIA.
12.2.1.k Any Misconduct towards, but not limited to:
• Officers or member of the staff of the FIA
• Members of the staff of the Organiser or promoter
• Members of the staff of the Competitors
• Suppliers of products or services to (or contractors or subcontractors to) any of the parties listed above
• Doping control officials or any other person involved in a doping control carried out in accordance with Appendix A.
FIA decision made
The stewards have decided to reprimand for breaching Article 12.2.1.k with the Italian understood to have offered an unreserved apology over the language used within his comments. No further action was required on the other two charges.
The investigation report read: 1. Article 12.2.1.k refers to “misconduct” which is defined in the ISC as “..the use of language….which might reasonably be expected or be perceived to…cause offence, humiliation or to be inappropriate”.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Mr Steiner also freely apologised “if anyone was hurt by what I said or misunderstood what I said”. The Stewards accept this apology.
6. 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.
7. The Stewards note that any party has the right to disagree with any determination of the Stewards of an event, however are strongly of the view that such disagreement should, and can, be expressed respectfully