Haas Ferrari relationship, FIA investigation

Three Formula 1 teams have reportedly called on the FIA to investigate Haas’ rapid improvement in connection to the team’s relationship with championship leaders Ferrari.

Purchasing as many parts from the Italian constructor as permitted within the rules, Haas has been closely linked to Ferrari since it entered the sport in 2016.

After sacrificing their standing in previous years to prepare the VF-22 in line with F1’s new design regulations, Haas now sits seventh in the constructor championship – a staggering improvement from their last placed finish in 2021.

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The Scuderia currently leads both titles with their F1-75 after a resurgence following a slump in performance the past two years.

“Haas took a huge leap forward from last place. It’s an interesting step,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said recently.

“It’s a learning curve for us because as an organisation 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.”

While it is not known exactly which three teams have asked the FIA to open a consortium investigation, a report from Germany’s Auto, Motor und Sport suggested Alpine, McLaren, Aston Martin and Mercedes – the latter three racing with Mercedes engines – were the most likely candidates.

Haas is currently fitted out with a Ferrari power unit. However, the pair’s relationship runs deeper than just parts.

Under the F1’s revised budget cap which was introduced in 2021, ex-Ferrari engineers who lost their jobs were given roles at Haas. While Ferrari also announced in 2020 it would set up a ‘Haas hub’ for their personnel next to their Maranello base.

Despite several allegations of information sharing over time, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has long insisted the claims to be baseless.

“You know, these allegations have always existed and always will. I stay calm,” he told F1-Insider.com.

“If we are good, they call our car a ‘white Ferrari’. If we are bad, then no. I’m starting to find that ridiculous.

“You have to work hard for envy. You get pity for free. I wish the others would be green with envy because that means we did a very good job.”

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer recently floated an FIA investigation into Haas’ “surprising” development.

“It’s a small team that’s done well over the winter, from last to sometimes third-fastest team and it’s a bit surprising,” he said, as reported by GPFans.com.

“I thought that the pecking order would stay almost the same because generally, in a big regulation change, over the years that I’ve been in Formula 1, the bigger the regulation change, the more it favours those with know-how and the infrastructure and the tools to actually exploit the new rules.

“So, it’s a bit surprising that the Haas are where they are for a small team but I trust the FIA will investigate and come to the right conclusion between how similar the two cars are.”

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