Brazilian GP: Haas irked by Romain Grosjean-Esteban Ocon clash penalty
Grosjean and Steiner surprised by severity of punishment over Ocon clash, with Frenchman claiming puncture triggered spin
By James Galloway at Interlagos
Last Updated: 13/11/17 2:24pm
The Haas team have again called into question the consistency of F1's stewarding after Romain Grosjean's penalty for colliding with Esteban Ocon on the Brazilian GP's opening lap.
Frenchmen Grosjean and Ocon came together at Turn Six and spun into the run-off area, with stewards ruling the Haas driver lost control of his car and caused the Force India's retirement.
However, a perplexed Grosjean claimed after the race that he spun because he had a puncture and duly branded the sanction he received - a 10-second time penalty and two licence penalty points - as "super harsh".
And while the time penalty did not materially affect the Frenchman's race as he was already running last, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner claimed the verdict was inconsistent with other incidents - citing the one penalty point Williams' Lance Stroll received for blocking Grosjean at over 100kph in US GP qualifying last month.
"I share in my surprise more in the verdict," Steiner told reporters.
"It doesn't influence our result here, we were done by then and we took it as a test session, nothing else.
"But he got two penalty points for a race accident in my opinion and then you see Stroll got one penalty point when the speed difference was 140kph - and that was pretty dangerous.
"I'm struggling with consistency here and I continue to struggle."
Steiner had already been critical of a decision to penalise Grosjean for exceeding track limits at the previous race in Mexico and admitted: "It doesn't get any better by the way - the more I mention it I think it gets worse!"
Grosjean and team-mate Kevin Magnussen now lead the way for penalty points in the current field on six apiece. Drivers receive a one-race ban if they accrue 12 over a rolling 12-month period.
But Magnussen avoids penalty for Vandoorne-Ricciardo clash
Steiner was nonetheless relieved to be informed by text message that Magnussen was not going to be penalised for a three-way tangle earlier around lap one with McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.
Magnussen and Vandoorne dropped out of the race immediately with damage, while Ricciardo spun but continued and finished sixth.
A stewards' statement read: 'At the exit of turn 2 cars number 3 [Ricciardo], 2 [Vandoorne] and 20 [Magnussen] were almost side by side.
'Car 20 moved to the left-hand side of the track and made contact with car 2 and caused a chain reaction. Cars 2 and 20 had to retire as a result of the action.
'The stewards concluded that no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident.'
Battle for sixth place still on
Having effectively lost both their cars from contention half-way around the first lap in Sunday's race, Haas missed out on the chance to try and score points in the fight for sixth place in the Constructors' Championship.
How it stands ahead of Abu Dhabi
|6. Toro Rosso||53 points|
|7. Renault||49 points|
|8. Haas||47 points|
But with seventh-placed Renault only scoring one point, and sixth-placed Toro Rosso struggling for form and reliability, Haas remain within six points of both their rivals heading to the Abu Dhabi season finale next week.
"We missed an opportunity," rued Steiner. "Our car and the team was able to do something but to have two cars down after seven corners, the weekend is over.
"But nevertheless there's another one coming and so we have to try and get that one."
Don't miss the F1 Report on Wednesday at 8.30pm on Sky F1 as Williams co-founder Sir Patrick Head joins Marc Priestley and Natalie Pinkham to review the Brazilian GP.