Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has been fined €7500 ($8263) for “totally inappropriate” comments about a steward over team radio at the Russian Grand Prix.
After Kevin Magnussen received a five-second time penalty for not rejoining the track in the correct manner when fighting with Sergio Perez in Sochi — a penalty that cost him a position at the flag — Steiner said to Magnussen over team radio at the end of the race: “… 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…”.
With the comment broadcast, the stewards stated they did not summon Steiner at the time because of the potential conflict with at least one steward on the panel in Russia, as well as certain members of Haas having already left the circuit. Instead he was summoned in Japan, where Steiner confirmed his comment only referred to one steward no longer present, and stated it was made in the heat of the moment after a hotly contested race.
With Steiner admitting he regretted his choice of words and insisting his intention was not to reflect unfavorably on the officials at the event and the FIA, the stewards in Japan handed him a fine.
“The affected radio communication as transmitted at the time is an insult to the stewards of the event and calls into question both the skills and the integrity of those stewards,” the decision read. ‘Such statements harm the reputation of motorsport in general, the FIA in particular, and call into question the professionalism of the officials of the FIA.
“While any factual criticism of steward panel decisions is always welcomed in private discussions with that panel, public personal attacks against individual officials are totally inappropriate and will not be accepted.
“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 as defined in Articles 12 1.1.c and 12.1.1.f of the International Sporting Code.”
Steiner was also warned that the fine was reflective of a lack of previous penalties for similar behavior, and that a repeat offense could lead to more severe team punishments.