Guenther Steiner reprimanded for calling FIA stewards 'laymen'

Haas boss Guenther Steiner has been given a reprimand for his critical comments about the Monaco Grand Prix stewards, which he has apologised for.

Steiner was critical of a decision made by the Monaco Grand Prix stewards to penalise Nico Hulkenberg for causing a collision on the opening lap of last weekend's race and called on the FIA to appoint a permanent panel of stewards.

Racing's governing body, the FIA, currently appoints a panel of four stewards to rule on racing incidents at each F1 grand prix, some nominated by them and one by the home national sporting authority. A former F1 driver is usually among them.

During a media session on Thursday, Steiner referred to the FIA stewards as "laymen".

"Every professional sport has got professionals being referees and stuff like this," Steiner said. "It's like, F1 is one of the biggest sports in the world and we still have laymen deciding on the fate of people that invest millions in their careers."

Steiner was reprimanded over Article 12.2.1 k, which deals with language "which might reasonably be expected or be perceived to...cause offence, humiliation or to be inappropriate".

The use of "laymen" caused upset within the FIA this week, although during the hearing the Spanish Grand Prix stewards were satisfied with his explanation.

In the stewards verdict, it said: "The stewards accept Mr Steiner's statement during the hearing, that his reference to professionalism was meant to refer to people who worked in a role as their profession and not that the Stewards were acting unprofessionally.

"Further Mr Steiner stated his reference to "laymen" was meant to refer to people who worked occasionally and not meant to refer a lack of qualifications".

The verdict added: "Mr Steiner stated that if he had meant to insult or offend anyone he would have used much different words. The stewards do not dispute this.

"The Stewards note that any party has the right to disagree with any determination of the Stewards of an event, however are strongly of the view that such disagreement should, and can, be expressed respectfully."

Steiner apologised in person to the stewards and also via a public statement, issued right after the verdict came out.

In a statement released after the verdict was made public, Steiner said: "Yesterday (Saturday June 3) I attended a Stewards Hearing concerning comments I made during my press conference last Thursday (June 1).

"I expressed to the Stewards my disappointment and disagreement with the decision taken by the Monaco Stewards last weekend. The Stewards informed me that they had no issue with people disagreeing with decisions but were more concerned about the interpretation that had been placed on some of my comments.

"I explained to the stewards that I had not intended to offend anyone and that my use of certain words could have been open to misinterpretation or misunderstood by some people.

"I told the Stewards that I apologized if my statements were misunderstood or caused hurt to anyone as that was not my intention. I repeat that apology here."