The criticism of FIA driver steward Emanuele Pirro after crossing the finish line at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi could have a repercussion for Günther Steiner
According to information from “Motorsport-Total.com”, the Haas team boss, a repeat offender in the eyes of the FIA, is facing a draconian punishment. On Sunday evening, when the five-second penalty had already been imposed on his driver Kevin Magnussen for not going around the post in the run off area, Steiner had run to the stewards to talk about the penalty. The now rather famous for foul language team principal had obviously had a heated argument with Pirro.
Shortly before, Steiner had told Magnussen during the pit radio lap that he had dropped from eighth to ninth place because of a “stupid” and “idiotic” steward. Magnussen followed up in the first TV interviews and called the decision a “bullshit”.
However, Steiner refused to apologise to the stewards for these statements, which were apparently addressed quite specifically in Pirro’s direction. Which naturally did not go down well with the Italian expert driver steward, it now transpires that the two no longer speak to each other.
The FIA now seems to want to discipline Steiner. Because this was not possible through diplomatic channels on Sunday in Sochi, a rather draconian punishment could be applied. There are three options under discussion – about which the stewards were informed at the next race in Suzuka.
First up: a so-called “paddock ban” for Steiner. Should this sanction be imposed, he would at least have to watch a Grand Prix from the grandstand. Similar to football, where rebellious coaches can also be banned from the sidelines if they mess with the referee.
Second: a 250,000 euro fine. That would be a harsh sentence for a purely verbal offence. However, well-informed sources who are familiar with the matter assure us that such a penalty is completely possible.
Third, points deducted. This would not affect the drivers, but it would hurt the Haas team in the Constructors’ World Championship.
Haas is currently second last in the team standings, with 28 points. At least Alfa Romeo (35) is within reach. Being eighth or ninth probably makes a difference of around three million US dollars in Formula 1’s revenue distribution.
“Ultimately,” warns FIA race director Michael Masi, “we’re all here to do our job. Be it the officials, the teams, all of them. And there has to be a certain amount of mutual respect. If something inappropriate has been said, there are those responsible for legal issues off the track who can look into it.”
Steiner has not yet taken the opportunity to comment on the subject at the request of ‘Motorsport-Total.com’. It would probably be done with a sincere apology. Because the FIA doesn’t like it when its officials are publicly insulted …
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