Romain Grosjean has been disqualified from sixth place in the Italian Grand Prix after a successful protest of the legality of the Haas car by Renault.
Renault claimed the front edge of the floor of Grosjean’s car was not in conformity with the regulations after the race at Monza, with the Frenchman’s result having initially seen Haas move into fourth in the constructors’ championship ahead of Renault. After a hearing by the stewards, the protest was upheld and Grosjean disqualified.
The protest related to the front edge of the floor. With a number of teams having been interpreting a technical regulation in different ways, the FIA issued a technical directive on July 25 which “in essence gave the teams until the [Italian Grand Prix] to comply with the clarification indicated.”
After Renault provided a picture that it claimed was of Grosjean’s car at the start of the race not complying with the technical directive, the French team protested against its legality.
Haas submitted emails that showed it had been in contact with the FIA’s Head of Single Seater Technical Matters and understood the technical directive, and provided details of their solution but claimed that due to the summer break it would “endeavor to introduce this upgrade for the Singapore GP, but will be somewhat at the mercy of our suppliers so we would request some flexibility in this matter.”
As no direct response to that point was provided, Haas told the stewards it understood the lack of response to be acceptance of both their solution and the timeframe it could be implemented.
The FIA’s Head of Single Seater Technical Matters had warned Haas that it would leave itself open to protest by other teams if the car was not corrected by Monza.
Haas contracts Italian manufacturer Dallara to build its chassis, but says the two-week Summer Shutdown period meant it was only three weeks between the technical directive being issued and the Italian Grand Prix, therefore preventing it from coming up with a solution in time.
“The Stewards determined that, as per the Technical Delegate’s report, the car was not in compliance with Art. 3.7.1.d of the 2018 FIA Formula One Technical Regulations, as clarified by TD/033-18,” the stewards decision read.
“As has been noted in previous decisions of the FIA International Court of Appeal, Technical Directives are advisory in nature, but they provide a manner in which a competitor may satisfy the Technical Delegates and the Stewards with proof that their car is compliant. In this case the Competitor did not follow the Technical Directive, and the outboard front corner of the car does not have the requisite 50mm radius.
“While the Stewards are also sympathetic to the difficulties of producing these parts, the Stewards noted that at least one other competitor was able to comply in the time provided.
“Further, it was made clear to the competitor from the outset that the FIA Technical Department did not consider their car to be in compliance, and further that they left themselves open to the circumstances they now find. It was therefore the obligation of the competitor to be in compliance, which they did not do.”
The disqualification moves Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez up to sixth and seventh respectively ahead of Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin. As a result, Renault pulls 10 points clear of Haas in the fight for fourth in the constructors’ standings, with Force India jumping Toro Rosso into seventh place on 32 points, 20 points behind McLaren.