Szafnauer: Ferrari link, not competitiveness caused tensions with Haas

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It was Haas' close technical link with Ferrari rather than the US outfit's performance that caused tensions with its mid-field rivals in 2018, says Racing Point Force India boss Otmar Szafnauer.

Haas' VF-18 was dubbed 'the white Ferrari' when it appeared in pre-season testing at the beginning of the year for its genuine resemblance with the Scuderia's 2017 car.

Haas has fully exploited a technical partnership with Ferrari that allows it to use specific parts sourced from Maranello.

However, while cost effective, the approach prompted its rivals to suggest that Haas' relationship with Ferrari had perhaps become too close for comfort, a state of affairs that in turn produced "friction" with the American squad whose performance level was also a threat to its competitors.

"I think when you design, make and build your own cars, and there's one team that isn't doing it, and is getting a lot of technology from a top team, you're going to get that friction," Force India's Szafnauer told

"I think that's what it's really about. It's not about the competitiveness. That's the root cause of the friction.

"It's just a bit curious that only two teams had a front-floor that wasn't in compliance with the regulation after the FIA pointed it out, it was Haas and Ferrari [referencing Grosjean disqualification at Monza].

"It's kind of like having two snowflakes that are the same.

"It's tough for two totally independent designers to design an aerodynamic piece with exactly the same radius that isn't compliant. It's those types of things."

After the opening salvo of the world championship in Melbourne, both Force India and McLaren called for clarity on Haas' rapport with its technical partner. That demand still stands today.

"We had lots of things happen this year with our team that took our focus away from that type of stuff. We'll see where it goes in the future," added Szafnauer.

"Both the FIA and FOM are working on clarifying those things just to make sure teams do remain constructors and are independent from each other in respect to what the rules dictate what should be independent of each other.

"So for example, all aerodynamic surfaces needed to be designed and made by a constructor. You can't share. Anything the air touches. That's a lot of the car."

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