Three Formula 1 teams have asked the FIA for clarification over the legality of the 2022 Haas car, according to a report by Auto Motor und Sport.
Haas spent the majority of last season developing for the new technical regulations introduced this year, and thus became the first scoreless team in six years as Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher failed to get near the top 10 in 2021.
Now though, spurred on by the return of Kevin Magnussen after the Russian’s sacking, the American outfit have scored points in two of the opening three rounds of the year through the Dane, while accidents and slices of misfortune have denied Schumacher a points finish thus far.
Subsequently, ambiguity has arisen as to how they have made such monumental gains, and the finger of suspicion has naturally pointed to the fact that Gene Haas’ side buy a significant portion of their parts from Ferrari, who supply them with engines and use them as a junior talent pool.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had no interest in insinuating that anything underhanded was at play, and praised the magnificent work done over in Banbury.
“Haas took a huge leap forward from last place. It’s an interesting step,” he said.
“It’s a learning curve for us because as an organization of 2,000 people that has been successful in the past, we’re now struggling with teams that are much smaller. They must have done a great job.”
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer was in charge of the Racing Point team in 2020 when they were found guilty of intimately copying the 2019 Mercedes car, and he affirms that he anticipated that the teams with the best pre-existing resources such as Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari would be better placed to capitalise on the new regulations.
“Haas is a small team that jumped from last to third place over the winter. That comes as a bit of a surprise,” he added.
“I expected the balance of power to change with such a big rule reform changes little because it favours the teams that have more know-how and better infrastructure.”
However, the Romanian-American has faith that the FIA will be diligent in their monitoring of the situation.
“I am convinced that the FIA will investigate the case and come to the right conclusions about how similar these two cars are,” he added.
Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur highlighted the importance of ensuring legality in every aspect, from the new budget cap to the sharing of wind tunnels, and he too has no concerns about the FIA’s integrity and competence.
“It’s like the old and new regulations about financial, for example, that the most important is to be able to control everything, that we have restrictions on the wind tunnel, we have a restriction on the budget,” he explained.
“But we have to trust the FIA, they are doing a good job and for sure, they will be on every single case.”
It is yet unknown exactly which teams might have contacted the FIA regarding Haas’ close relationship with Ferrari, but it has been suggested that McLaren, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Alpine are likely to be among them.