Force India calls out 'hypocrisy' of Haas protest


Force India team boss Otmar Szafnauer admits he is at a loss to understand the logic behind Haas' protest, claiming the case reflects only "irony and hypocrisy".

Haas lodged a protest with the FIZA stewrads in Abu Dhabi, stating its belief that Racing Point Force India - the new company that took over the assets of the old Force India team - doens not qualify as a constructor as defined by F1's sporting code.

To support its case, Haas has argued that RPFI has acquired 'listed parts' (i.e. parts like the chassis or bodywork that must be produced in-house) for its cars from a competitor, which the regulations forbid.

Saturday morning, the stewards dismissed the protest after concluding that Haas' action was baseless because the original Force India company was no longer a competitor in F1 when the newly established RPFI entity acquired the parts. Haas may still appeal the decision however.

RPFI subsequently qualifies as a 'Constructor' under F1's 2018 sporting code.

Haas' Guenther Steiner claims his team's case is about equality among teams and the new Force India team's eligibility for 'Column 1' prize money. Otmar Szafnauer has a hard time following that logic however.

"I don’t understand how they were claiming that they’re trying to get equality by claiming that we’re not a constructor when we clearly are," the Force India boss told

"We design and make more parts than most teams, maybe a hundredfold more than Haas do. The irony and hypocrisy of it is they are protesting us, saying that we’re not a constructor, when we are the definition of a constructor, and they aren’t.

"I’m confused as to how you try to get equality by saying we’re not a constructor. We are in every sense of the word, and much more so than they are.

"The protest was that we are not a constructor because we didn’t design and make the listed parts. Well, we did.

"Andy Green and Akio Haga and Ian Hall and Dan Carpenter, those are the guys that designed it, and guess what, they work for us!"

Szafnauer insists that prior to its first race in Spa as a new entity, Racing Point Force India was allowed to take over the technology rights and intellectual property held by the old Force India team.

"What the regulations say is that a designed part cannot be used by two competitors in the championship. And that’s not the case with us," explained the American.

"It’s really, really simple. If you buy designs and IP from an entity that is not a participant in F1, that’s allowed. What’s not allowed is to buy from another participant that is in F1, unless the parts are non-listed in the F1.

"And Haas employ that as well, they buy from Dallara. They don’t design themselves, they don’t make themselves, they buy from Dallara. That is allowed. And we’ve done exactly that with Sahara Force India, that isn’t racing any more.

"Who has their IP, Dallara or them? You could argue it’s Dallara. Well, why are they a constructor? Because Dallara is not racing in the championship, that’s why. And it’s that simple," he added.

"Now, if we had 11 teams, if Sahara Force India and Racing Point Force India raced with identical cars, then they would have a case.

"That’s why I say they don’t have a case, and it’s odd to me that they want equality but bring this up, which is nonsensical. That’s what doesn’t make sense to me."

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