Otmar Szafnauer: Haas’ similarity to Ferrari causing “friction” with rivals

by Findlay Grant
Romain Grosjean - Haas F1 Team - Hungary GP

Racing Point Force India F1 Team‘s Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer has said that he feels Haas F1 Team‘s similarities with Scuderia Ferrari are causing “friction” among its rivals.

Last month, the American outfit said it was seeking “clarity”.  It was also the second time in 2018 the team had been involved in a protest, following Romain Grosjean‘s disqualification from the Italian Grand Prix for running with an illegal floor design.

The team’s relationship with Ferrari has been under scrutiny since it began at the start of the 2016 season.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Szafnauer said: “Well, I think when you design, build and make 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.”

“I think that’s what it’s really about.  It’s not about the competitiveness.  That’s the root cause of the friction.”

Regarding Grosjean’s disqualification at the Italian Grand Prix, he said: “It’s just a bit curious that 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.”

He added: “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.”

FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting has said that the sport needs to look “very carefully” at teams supplying other teams, and that these concerns started with Haas.

Force India have asked for clarity on the issue, following the problems they were forced to contend with during 2018.

Szafnauer said: “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.

“Both the FIA and FOM (Formula One Management) 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 should be independent of each other.”

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