American F1 team Haas have been accused by rivals of using an illegal copy of Ferrari’s car.
The team, which has been in the sport since 2016, has come under-fire from McLaren boss Zak Brown and driver Fernando Alsono as well as Red Bull boss Christian Horner after a strong performance in the opening race of the season in Australian at Albert Park.
The Haas uses the engine and parts supplied by Ferrari and has a close working relationship with the team with Haas’s chassis builder, Dallara, using Ferrari’s wind tunnel for research.
Although this is great for Haas the sharing of certain information is against F1’s governing body the FIA’s rules and would result in harsh penalties.
The accusations come after Haas had a strong start to the first race of 2018. Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were fighting with the top field in 4th and 6th until an unfortunate wheel gun failure forced both cars to stop on track as a wheel was not fitted properly.
Teams have complained that the new car resembles last year’s Ferrari and questioned how the team had put together a car so fast with such a small workforce – having just 220 employees compared to the 700 at McLaren.
Haas boss Gunther Steiner has denied these accusations. He said: “We are not doing anything we shouldn’t.” And he told the BBC that the teams should lodge a protest if they have a problem saying they are “talking without intelligence and without knowledge”.
The FIA has already given Haas the all-clear, allowing them to race in Australia. FIA’s director Charlie Whiting said: “We know exactly what’s going on between Haas and Ferrari, which is completely legal. Last year we had one team expressing some concerns but we have not seen anything that concerns us at the moment.”
Comment: The speed of the Haas came as a shock to the teams as well as fans. If the FIA are happy and the car has already been approved so other teams should stop throwing a wobbly and focus on improving the pace of their cars.