Haas Protest of Italy Exclusion ‘Could Go Both Ways’ – Steiner


Romain Grosjean - Haas F1 Team - Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Guenther Steiner feels the appeal over Romain Grosjean’s exclusion from the Italian Grand Prix could go either way, but the team principal of the Haas F1 Team says he believes the stewards decision at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza should be overturned.

Grosjean finished sixth in Italy but was subsequently disqualified from the results after a protest over the legality of the floor of his VF-18 by the Renault Sport Formula One Team, with the exclusion denying Haas the chance to jump the French manufacturer in the Constructors’ Championship.

The appeal will be held in Paris on 1 November, and whilst confident in the teams’ defence, Steiner remains cautious that it is a forgone conclusion that it will be successful.

“It’s a 50/50, it could go both ways,” Steiner said to Motorsport.com.  “I would never say I was a confident winner, because you never know what is happening.

“You have no control on the decision, you do the best you can with your lawyers and technical team to explain what happened, the whole process, and why we ended where we were.

“We think they got it wrong, that is what we think. But then again I’m not on the Court of Appeal, so I cannot decide, that’s why I give it a 50/50, which means it could go both ways.”

Steiner says the Court of Appeal should have a better understanding of the regulations than the stewards at Monza, who he feels did not understand the explanation the team gave about the legality of the floor.

The teams defence will be based on both the technical aspects and the procedures involved in the discussions with the FIA, which he feels go hand in hand but in a complex manner.

“They go hand-in-hand in this case,” said Steiner.  “That is what it is. It is very complex, how it goes hand-in-hand. It’s a technicality which goes hand-in-hand with procedures which were not followed correctly, not only from our side, but somebody else.

“It’s a mix of technical regulation, interpretation, ambiguity, information. It’s very complex. I think the stewards, they didn’t understand what we tried to explain, and therefore they disqualified us.

“But I hope the Court of Appeal has got a better understanding and more time at their disposal for us that we can explain how it went down.”

Guenther Steiner - Haas F1 Team
Guenther Steiner is confident Haas can win their appeal over Romain Grosjean’s exclusion from the Italian GP – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Steiner knew it was possible that there would be a protest from a team, but it came at a surprise that Renault made the protest when they did.  He feels it should have been during or after practice and not after the whole race weekend that Renault should have made their protest, and he thinks there should be people within the Enstone-based outfit that need to answer to why they did what they did, when they did.

“We were aware that this could happen, but my opinion for a long time there was not a protest after the race,” said Steiner.  “It’s a long, long time. So I was a little bit surprised. But then I’m not. What would you do if you were Renault?

“I wouldn’t have done the same, I would have done what other people have done before, but Renault is in a position where they got overtaken for fourth position, and I think that triggered we need to do something, or we finish fifth.

“After practice, saying if this is not fixed, we are going to protest you.  That is what I was told, because it was before my time as well that this was done the last time.

“I don’t know how they did it, but it’s one of these things.  Renault does what they need to do. I think a lot of people internally are questioned there, and they should be.”

Romain Grosjean - Haas F1 Team - Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Haas beat Renault in Monza, but the latter then protested the legality of the former’s car – Credit: Haas F1 Team