Haas lodges protest against Force India in Abu Dhabi

© XPB 

The FIA has confirmed that the Haas F1 Team has lodged a protest against Force India ahead of this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

While the nature of the complaint has not been disclosed, it is believed that Haas is calling into question Racing Point Force India's qualification as a constructor given that the team uses a car - the VJM11 - initially designed and built by the original but now defunct Force India outfit.

F1 regulations state that a team must own the intellectual property associated with a design to qualify as a constructor and therefore be eligible for F1's prize money fund.

There's been no love lost between the two teams this season, with Force India calling for an investigation earlier this year into Haas' technical relationship with Ferrari.

Over the summer, as Force India administration process reached its conclusion, Haas boss Guenther Steiner sought clarification from Formula 1's chiefs about the new entity's financial rights.

In its blatant attempt to shore up its finances, Haas' protest is rooted in a financial issue, with the US outfit seeking to deprive Force India of its share of the prize fund if it does not qualify as a constructor, in which case Haas would financially benefit from Force India's share being divided among the other teams.

Or, alternatively, Haas could also be seeking a retroactive settlement with F1, arguing that if the new Force India team is eligible for prize money in its first year - or for 'Column 1' payments - then the same rule should apply ex post facto to Haas for its 2016 and 2017 seasons.

As a reminder, a team is only eligible for 'Column 1' prize money if it finishes in the top 10 of the Constructors' standings in two of three seasons.

Representatives of both teams have been summoned to the stewards on Friday morning before the action kicks off in earnest in Abu Dhabi.

In the end however, it may just all turn out to be a silly case of the pot calling the kettle black...

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