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Steiner calls for professional stewards

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02/06/2023

Incensed by the penalties meted out to Nico Hulkenberg in Monaco, Haas team boss says it is time F1 considered introducing professional stewards.

Adjudged as causing a collision with Logan Sargeant on the opening lap of the Monaco Grand Prix, Hulkenberg was handed a 5s penalty. However, having subsequently served the penalty when he pitted, he was handed a further 10s penalty for not serving the original correctly, the stewards deciding that Hulkenberg and his team "failed to serve the full 5 seconds penalty before working on the car".

Four days later and Steiner was still fuming, insisting that there was no contact between the two drivers, and that claims the German pitted at the end of the opening lap due to a puncture picked up in the clash was rubbish because it was always the intention to pit Hulkenberg at the end of the first lap.

"I think it's (Turn) six when they are in the line, and the Aston Martin is in front," he told reporters. "I looked at the pictures and Nico comes from the inside and dives into the corner, but I can't see a collision.

"I'm told that a collision is touching," he continued, "but I'm still trying to find out. I'm still trying to get it explained because I think it was completely wrong.

"This has consequences," said the Italian. "Lap one, we get a penalty for what I think is not a collision, then there is other people running into each other during the race and they get a black and white flag. I think it's very inconsistent.

"Then we look at the accident in Miami between de Vries and Norris in lap one, that was no collision? If a collision is because you attack somebody, and he reacts to it, why would you get a penalty for that? I don't understand it. And I was told in the video that you can see a collision, I looked at numerous pictures and I cannot see a collision.

"If somebody wants to tell me there is a collision, how can you be sure? And if you don't know if it is one or not, what is it then? Innocent until proven guilty? Not 'guilty until proven innocent' in my opinion."

At a time there have been numerous complaints regarding the lack of consistency in stewarding, Steiner called for an overhaul of the system.

"We need a different system for F1 stewards in my opinion," he said, "because every other professional sport has got professionals being referees and stuff like this. F1 is one of the biggest sports in the world and we still have laymen's (sic) deciding on the fate of people who invest millions in their careers. It's always a discussion because there's no consistency.

"In American racing, NASCAR and IndyCar, how many times do you hear problems with the stewards or race directors decisions? Very rarely. They're doing it completely differently because there is full-time people working there."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by intrepid, 03/06/2023 18:32

"Guenter Steiner is completely correct"

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2. Posted by trackrecords, 02/06/2023 21:50

"Defiant - the stewards exist anyway because every race meeting has stewards for judicial matters. The problem is not training but is proficiency - every takes a driving test, but it doesn't mean everyone is a good driver. There's a d**khead near me that sets off a full throttle on a stone-cold engine every day - the engine wear must be horrendous. I barely rev my car until the temperature gauge is at normal in comparison. I've never had points on my license but I bet he's had tons. We have both been trained and tested but it has resulted in two different drivers. Stewards and Clerk of the Courses are the same. I know of one karting C of C that had a grievance with a teenage karter and the kid knew that if ever he was involved in an incident, that C of C would punish this kid regardless."

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3. Posted by trackrecords, 02/06/2023 21:36

"Celtic tiger - do you know how many marshals there are at a GP? Also, that would be a full-time profession for over 100 more people and would add around at a minimum 5 million in extra costs with salaries, accomodation, travel, equipment and insurance. Marshals only get expenses in this country and ours are good - I don't know if foreign ones are paid, but they would need to be paid much more than the highest-paid foreigners. So that could mean double my estimate. And would the FIA absorb the cost or pass it on to the circuit? The last thing Silverstone needs is a GP costing even more. "

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4. Posted by trackrecords, 02/06/2023 21:23

"Someone is an expert in Race Control matters told me that - 20 years or so ago - one of the Stewards in the "pool" at Silverstone that year was an Indian cinema manager: his disdain wasn't for the Steward's nationality, but the profession being un-connected with motor racing. Seeing as the FIA is hardly threadbare and has Clerks of the Course from different nations flown around the world for International kart races, then why not use them as stewards and pay them. The amount they make from various fines should cover it."

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5. Posted by Defiant, 02/06/2023 18:25

"I think Greg makes a lot of good points. Fully trained or employed stewards may not be an easy task, but doesn't mean it couldn't be an active goal.
How about having a small team of fully trained stewards that go ahead of the circus and do training courses in each country. I don't know as I haven't ever done it, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I assumed that marshalls and stewards volunteer in advance. ( If not, Why not make it months or even years in advance?)
They could go around doing training courses specifically for the larger sports. This could be done in conjunction with MotoGP, WRC, WEC etc etc to share the costs and improve the various skills. Then as time goes on, each venue would have a team that would have gained the skills over multiple years (in theory anyway), so that they could then do their own courses. Then it would only take a couple of guys added to the circus ongoing, who would ensure that everyone was up to par. "

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6. Posted by Greg, 02/06/2023 16:35

"Have to agree with the comments. It is supposedly a professional sport. Not taking anything away from the marshals that volunteer their time and effort ( having done that both in Oz and overseas) I have seen various levels of commitment and dedication to the tasks. It is about time F1 FOM and the FIA employed a fully trained professional team. . At least at the start the stewards. The race director is an F1 specialist ( I use the term ) and is the same person for most races. The clerk of the course is nominally the guy in charge of motor sport in that country, and knows his job. To have a fully trained set of marshals would be a bit prohibitive given the number required. Normally 6 or 7 on a post plus specialist recovery crews and fire fighters. A lot to ask and huge costs "

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7. Posted by Celtic Tiger, 02/06/2023 15:36

"I second this, trained professional stewards is long overdue. I would also suggest a fully employed FIA/FOM team of professional marshals that travel with the teams to all venues as well."

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8. Posted by rambler, 02/06/2023 14:50

"This is one of my pet peeves with F1. The officials like in other sports should be trained. At the very least they should have been officials at F3 and F2 before moving up to F1. They should have regular training sessions meetings to discuss trends within the races. "

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