Haas F1 Team Boss Guenther Steiner has called for the FIA to employ an unchanging panel of stewards that reside over each of the races on the calendar, in order to avoid inconsistent decisions being made.
Steiner was particularly annoyed when Haas driver Romain Grosjean was penalised for corner cutting at the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix, but McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso escaped unpunished when the pair collided later in the race, in an incident the Italian fully believes was the Spaniard’s fault.
Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen was also controversially penalised for a move on Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen for third place at the 2017 United States Grand Prix the previous round, and Steiner believes that changing the race steward at every round certainly does not help matters, as he told European media outlet Speed Week recently.
“Every time, decisions are being made differently, and this sometimes hurts the small teams more. In my view, the way out of this is to appoint permanent stewards who really know their business.”
It is the not knowing why a penalty has been applied that really irks the Italian.
“For me the only solution is to have permanent people there, who know what happens every week. I have no problem if they are then supplemented by additional people or whoever, but there needs to be somebody consistent who knows what happened a year ago, two years ago, last week.
“You need to be accountable for that job, there’s too much at stake. This is a big sport. I’m not blaming the guys because it’s not their job, but you cannot have one day one decision and another day another one and say ‘yeah that’s alright’!
“And for sure it’s worse with the smaller teams on the grid because they care less about them.”
Steiner has already held discussions on the matter with F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting, who he tracked down immediately following the Mexican Grand Prix, in order to have him explain the reasoning behind why Grosjean had been penalised.
“I’ve spoken to Charlie and we’ve had some constructive discussions.
“My biggest thing is the technicalities of what is wrong and what is right. That isn’t easy to find out, and it’s the consistency. You need to know what is happening and what is not happening with penalties, and that’s my biggest thing — every time it’s different.
“Romain gets five seconds for cutting the corner and then Fernando runs into him, hits his car, and destroys his race anyway and gets nothing. It’s like… explain it!”
However, whilst the Italian felt the talks were constructive, Whiting does not believe that a change of their current method is necessary.
“We are discussing this all the time, but we believe that the appointment of four permanent stewards for the whole year will only lead to many new questions.
“I do not want to go into details, but at the moment, we consider our direction to be more reasonable.”