Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he does not bow to pressure from Ferrari when it comes to voting on matters regarding Formula 1’s future.
McLaren’s Zak Brown published a long article on Thursday outlining areas he wanted F1 to improve, and called for secret ballots when it came to votes in the F1 Commission to prevent customer and affiliate teams being pressured into following the lead of their bigger suppliers. Speaking about the topic on Friday, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff then said the likes of Haas has always followed Ferrari’s vote and he would expect it to continue to do so.
“It’s very easy, you have seen in the past that Toro Rosso (AlphaTauri) has voted like Red Bull — probably without an exemptions — and Haas has gone the Ferrari way,” Wolff said. “In our case we have never tried to influence a team. Obviously things have been discussed when it was a common topic — like on the power unit it’s clear teams vote with each other — and none of the teams would vote against their own interest in terms of chassis regulations.
“So the idea of the secret ballot is good. I doubt that Franz (Tost, AlphaTauri team principal) is not going to take instructions and neither will Guenther not take instructions, but the attempt is obviously good. No team should really be being influenced by any affiliate or any supplier.”
Steiner, however, refuted the claim, saying wider discussions are always with the intention of working out what is best for his team overall.
“I wouldn’t say pressure,” Steiner said. “It’s one of these processes where we speak with people: ‘What should we vote? What do you think is the direction to go?’ which is normal when you run a business. Don’t take it that somebody puts a gun to my head and says ‘You need to vote that way.’ No, nobody does that. You discuss it, you see what is the best.”
Steiner says Brown’s idea is one that is easy to implement in terms of regulations but potentially expensive for teams as it will need monitoring independently.
“I don’t vote against my own will. I know that this secret voting was always there — it’s not asking for something new, it’s in the regulations, they can just apply it. I don’t know what it will achieve because we just vote what’s good for us. One way or another, that’s what we will continue to do, secret or not secret.
“I’m not afraid to let other people know what I voted. So for me it doesn’t make any difference except it will get more complex than it is already and maybe it will also cost more money because we need now to have an outside company to manage our voting. So if Zak thinks that will make a difference I hope that he’s paying the bill for the outside company as well!”