Despite experiencing the frustration of an unfavourable decision by the stewards during the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Toto Wolff has unequivocally voiced his unwavering support for the FIA. This support comes in light of a recent incident involving Guenther Steiner, the Team Principal of Haas.
Steiner had expressed his dissatisfaction with a penalty given to Nico Hulkenberg during the Monaco Grand Prix. As a consequence, Steiner received a reprimand from the FIA for violating the regulations stated in the FIA International Sporting Code.
During his media briefing on Thursday preceding the Spanish Grand Prix weekend: “Do we need a different system for the stewards?” Steiner asked.
“Because every 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 deciding on the fate of people that invest millions in their careers. It’s always a discussion because there’s no consistency.
“I don’t want to blame any particular person on this, but if they’re not all there all the time then this is just like a job every…. It’s not even a job, because in a job you can get sacked because you get paid, and if you do a bad job you get sacked. You cannot get sacked because you do not get paid. I think we need to step it up.
“I think it’s now time. We’ve been discussing this for years and years and we always go back to this. Every other sport has professional referees, American racing — NASCAR, IndyCar, how many times do you hear problems with the stewards or with the race director’s decisions? Very rarely. But they are doing it completely differently, full-time people are working there.
“I’m always saying ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ not that I have to prove that I was innocent because that doesn’t work for me — that’s not how I look at life.”
However, Steiner later expressed remorse for his choice of words in his harsh criticism, extending an apology for the terminology employed, following the reprimand he received.
Throughout the 2021 season, Wolff had a rather distant rapport with race control and the stewards. However, when addressing the media, he emphasized:
“I never had my doubts in the system, I had my doubts in individuals.
“As a steward and a race director, you are under immense pressure to do the right things and probably every decision is going to have someone that likes it and the other one doesn’t.
“So I think they’re just trying the best they can, and we need to support the FIA where we can.”