Following criticism from rival teams over its partnership with Ferrari, team principal Guenther Steiner says Haas’ development of its 2018 car is “well above board.”
Having started the season strongly – qualifying with both cars on the third row in Australia and running fourth and fifth before retiring from the race – Haas has come under fire from the likes of Force India for its ability to have such a competitive car with such a small workforce. The team purchases as many parts as allowed by the regulations from Ferrari, but must design its own aerodynamic surfaces.
Fernando Alonso also described the Haas as a “Ferrari replica,” but amid calls from Force India for the FIA to investigate the relationship between the two teams, Steiner says he has no concerns.
“Everybody is allowed to have an opinion,” Steiner said. “Some people have an opinion, which I think is based on no facts. It does not have a lot of value to me. I think the whole of Haas F1 Team can be proud of the work done between last year and over the winter to produce the VF-18 and get it into its competitive condition. It’s merit to them. They can be proud.
“If people have an issue, fine with me. We report what we are doing, like everybody else, to the FIA. That’s why I’m more than confident we are not doing anything wrong. I’m perfectly fine with how we do business.
“We design our own aero, as per the regulations, and yes, we use mechanical parts from Ferrari, but everybody’s known that for the past two years. We are well above board, and happy to be where we are.”
Haas ultimately missed out on the chance to score heavily in Australia due to two pit stop errors, and Steiner says the only way to rectify the issue is by carrying out more practice ahead of Bahrain.
“For sure, it’s difficult, but that’s racing. I’ve been doing this a long time. There are moments like this, with real downs. The good thing is the car seems to be quick, so you look forward to going to the next race and making sure you do a better job. We still have to go and do it in Bahrain, but I think we’re in a good position do something similar like we did in Australia performance-wise.
“As a team, we made mistakes. We had too much work to do on the car and didn’t practice enough. I think the key to all of this is to get the practice in before the race so that we’re prepared for all aspects of the race.”