Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the basis of the protest against Force India is to set a precedent and ensure all teams are treated equally.
On Thursday, Haas lodged a protest against the two Force India cars at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with no official reason provided by the race stewards. With a decision coming no earlier than Saturday, Steiner (pictured above) declined to give details of the protest on Friday evening but says Haas wants to ensure all teams are treated the same way in Formula 1.
“What we are seeking is equality for all the teams,” Steiner said. “We came in under certain circumstances into Formula 1, we were aware of what we had to do, we did it all, and we feel that this was not done this time with Force India. So we are just seeking equality or at least an explanation why it isn’t done.
“The problem is maybe bigger than Force India, but we are just seeking that everybody is treated equally. We are not trying to get more. We are just trying to make sure that everybody in this position in the future knows what he’s going to do.
“You set a precedent with this one, so you need to sort the precedent out so the future is not painted.”
It is understood that the protest relates to the prize money that Force India is set to receive from F1 for the team’s previous performances in the sport, despite officially being accepted as a new entry at the Belgian Grand Prix after the previous entrant went into administration. The way the commercial agreements are structured, Haas was not entitled to certain payments at the start of its time in F1 as a new entrant.
Although many teams agreed to allow the ‘new’ Force India to receive the money back in August after jobs were saved, Steiner — who argues Haas also created jobs by entering the sport — admits his team was always unhappy with the situation but didn’t want to resort to any official protest until it absolutely had to.
“I think we weren’t ready (in Spa) and 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. So at a certain point you need to do what you need to do.”
Steiner insists team owner Gene Haas is not after more money by lodging the protest, but wants Force India — as a new entrant — to be treated the same as Haas was when it first came into the sport.
“Haas abided by the rules and did what needed to be done, so he’s just trying to make it equal for everybody. It isn’t a crusade, he doesn’t want more, he’s just saying, ‘Hey, we did this, I knew I was going to do this, I was happy to do it, and it’s the same for everybody.’”