The Haas vs Force India saga has been a complicated matter. This has been indicated by the time taken by the stewards to come to a decision on Haas’ complaint The verdict came only 43 hours after the protest.
As of now, Racing Point Force India has been recognised as an independent designer and is allowed to race at the season finale. Haas F1’s only option is to run the matter through a civil court to enforce their point of view.
The issue was Annex 6 of the Sports Act. It determines which parts each team has to design itself. The chassis, the wings, the fairing, the radiators. They can also buy the design of these parts from a third company, as long as this company is not a competitor at the same time. The FIA wants to prevent the factory team from holding B teams.
Haas F1 argued that the Force India VJM11 was built by another team that has not competed since the Belgian GP under the flag of Racing Point Force India. Thus, the team would violate Annex 6, because he has not constructed the components in question, but has taken over from another team.
The key point in the discussion was the sequence in which Force India was transformed into Racing Point Force India. For this purpose, the four stewards had to call FIA lawyer Pierre Ketterer for advice.
He explained the process, which is crucial for the clarification of the case: On July 28, Force India went into bankruptcy. On August 16, sale of the assets of Force India to the successor racing team was sealed. The purchase price of 90 million pounds also included the transfer of design rights.
The FIA took the old team out of the classification and deleted all previously achieved championship points. Only then did the newly-rechristened team apply for a license granted by the FIA on August 23rd. Thus, the design of the car was taken over by a company that was no longer a participant.
Decision in Haas/Force India protest: The Stewards decide to dismiss the protests lodged by Haas against Car number 11 & 31. The Stewards decide that the Racing Point Force India Team satisfied the definition of a “Constructor” under the 2018 FIA F1 Sporting Regulations. #AMuS
— Tobi Grüner 🏁 (@tgruener) November 24, 2018
Since the predecessor was now shut down, they are by definition no longer a competitor, but a supplier. It could be compared to Dallara and Haas F1 in the broadest sense, argues Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer. The US racing team constructs the so-called “listed parts” themselves, but leaves them at the Italian racing car manufacturer, who has no team in the premier class, build.
With the protest, Haas F1 did not aim to shut out Force India. They only demanded the same rights for all and tried to get by way of lost premiums. If Force India, as the “new team”, gets the attendance bonus for the next two years, then, in the opinion of the US team, they will also face HaasF1. As a result, the Americans would have to pay around 60 million dollars for the years 2016 and 2017.
In that sense, the protest against Force India was not completely in vain. The FIA confirmed in black and white that Racing Point Force India in their view is a completely new team with a new license. This brings the World Federation now Liberty in a difficult situation. The rights holders are of the opinion that the outfit is a new “old team” that could only be saved through insolvency. Haas F1 contradicts this opinion as already mentioned and plans to bring the case before a civil court. The lawsuit is due to be filed next week in London and later in the US.