A decision on the Haas protest against Force India at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been delayed until Saturday at the earliest.
Haas lodged a protest against the two Force India cars on Thursday evening, with the case understood to be relating to the fact the cars were designed and built by the previous Force India team, which went into administration in the summer and was excluded from the championship. A new entrant — Racing Point Force India — took its place, but the majority of teams agreed to allow it to keep the constructors’ championship prize money the former team was entitled to.
Unhappy with the situation, having had to wait for prize money as a new entrant itself, Haas lodged the protest and presented a number of documents as evidence, which initially led to the hearing being adjourned until Friday afternoon in Abu Dhabi, and now a decision has been further delayed.
“A substantial amount of written evidence was submitted and each party made extensive verbal representation,” the stewards stated. “The stewards are deliberating on the matter.
“It is anticipated that a decision will not be handed down any earlier than just prior to Free Practice 3.”
FP3 takes place at 2 p.m. local time at the Yas Marina Circuit, with qualifying at 5 p.m.
Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer admitted earlier on Friday that he hadn’t been expecting such a protest, despite the prize money issue having dragged on since the Belgian Grand Prix in August.
“Well, after the protest was lodged it wasn’t a surprise at all,” Szafnauer 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 and in due course I think they’ll make a very informed decision.”