Haas F1 Team’s Guenther Steiner explained the reasoning for the protest against Racing Point Force India in Abu Dhabi which he reckons is done for the sole purpose of equal treatment of F1 teams on the grid.
A controversy broke ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP when it was revealed that Haas has protested against Racing Point Force India with the FIA document stating no other information on Thursday evening.
The initial hearing took place at 11:30 local time with the meeting adjourned until 15:40 local time as the evidence provided by either teams had to be looked at closely by the FIA Stewards at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The decision could not be taken in the given time with the FIA stating that the outcome would probably come before the FP3 session on Saturday. Force India’s team principal Otmar Szafnauer was surprised that Haas decided to protest.
“After the protest was lodged it wasn’t a surprise at all,” he said. “But just before that we weren’t expecting it really, so a bit of a surprise, but in a way it’s good that all of the information can be presented to the stewards.
“In due course I think they’ll make a very informed decision.” The saga between Force India and Haas is not new as the American outfit has already halted the prize money payment for the team finishing fourth last year.
Since the team is a new entity after being bought by Lawrence Stroll, Haas reckons it doesn’t go by the rule for the team to have the right on the FOM pay as it was the previous registered-outfit was the one who scored the result.
The reason for the Haas protest in Abu Dhabi is still not clear as Guenther Steiner did not wish to comment on it still. All in all, he presented the case for everyone in the paddock that the projected loophole is clarified in the regulations.
“What we are seeking for is equality for all the teams,” said Steiner to the media at Yas Marina Circuit including FormulaRapida.net. “We came in under certain circumstances in Formula 1, we were aware of what we had to do, we did it all.
“And we feel that this was not at all this time with Force India, so that is why we are just seeking equality or at least an explanation [as to] why it is done. We weren’t ready [at Spa to protest then], we tried to mediate and find an amicable solution.
“But we didn’t get either a good or bad answer, we didn’t get any answer. At a certain point you need to do what you need to do. The problem is maybe bigger than Force India. We are just seeking that everybody is treated equally.
“That is the only thing we are seeking. We are not trying to get more, we are just trying that everybody which is in this position also in the future knows what they are going to do. We need to sort the present out, so that future is not a problem.”
The Italian was particular that the team is not chasing for more money. Although the decision lies with FOM as to what they will do with the money if Force India doesn’t get it, but Steiner was clear that they will be fine if FOM decides to use it elsewhere.
The Haas chief did not wish to go into detail of what happened in the meeting but when asked if they will go further if the stewards decide otherwise, Steiner said they will better wait for the decision and then decide what they will do further.
When asked if this was a retaliation for the failed appeal against Renault earlier in the season and if he reckons it might give Haas a ‘bad image’ like Renault, Steiner clearly felt that it was not the case at all.