Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Albert Park, 2018

Analysis: Why Haas faces fresh outcry over its relationship with Ferrari

2018 F1 season

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Haas left the first race of the 2018 F1 season pointless. But its midfield rivals were alarmed by the potential shown by the VF-18s, which were running fourth and third before pit stop errors put both out.

The strong performance of the VF-18 in pre-season testing had been noticed by the team’s rivals. But ahead of the first qualifying session of 2018 questions their ultimate pace remained unknown.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain, 2017
The VF-18 has been called a “2017 Ferrari”
And, as Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer explained, they also expected Haas wouldn’t be able to keep up with the development rate of their rivals.

Haas is competing in its third Formula One season and continues to be the only team which full exploits the opportunity to source parts from another manufacturer. In this case Ferrari, which supplies its power unit, transmission and suspension.

“From what I’ve seen in years past their development path tails off a bit,” said Szafnauer. Maybe that’s because Ferrari start focusing on their own. I don’t know, I don’t know who does their development over the year.”

Then came qualifying, where Haas achieved its best ever starting positions with a row three lock-out. Had it not been for their double misfortune in the race they likely would have comfortably finished ahead of their midfield rivals.

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A lot is riding on Szafnauer’s assumption that Haas will not be able to keep up and improve on this pace. In their first season, 2016, Haas’s performance tended to improve as they year went on. Last year the trend was in the opposite direction:

They have begun 2018 in a similarly competitive position to how they started last year. But if their performance improvement is more akin to 2016, Haas stands to have a very good year indeed.

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Albert Park, 2018
McLaren and Force India have raised concerns about Haas
This is what the likes of McLaren and Force India are afraid of. Both were on course to finish behind Haas on Sunday. And they have good cause to fear Haas will be closer to their 2016 improvement rate this year.

The change in the aerodynamic regulations from 2016 to 2017 was a major disruption for Haas. But as the rules have remained largely stable this year it has had 12 months to study last year’s race-winning SF70H. Of course as Haas is using the 2018-specification Ferrari power unit and other hardware it is not ‘simply’ a case of cloning last year’s Ferrari. But you only have to look at the two to appreciate why Haas’s rivals have dubbed the VF-18 a ‘2017 Ferrari’.

There are other reasons to expect Haas will build on its start to 2018 as strongly as it did in 2016. Unlike last year they already have a year’s experience of coping with developing a new car for the upcoming season while also working on its current one. And as the team’s chief designer Rob Taylor explained to RaceFans their working relationship with Ferrari is continuing to improve.

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Haas is better-placed than its rivals to deal with the compromises involved in integrating a complex power unit. “We get no technical assistance from Mercedes,” explained Force India’s technical director Andrew Green. “We get supplied the gearbox and the hydraulics pack, and [they] just say these are the parameters you have to run it by, that’s it.”

“We’ve got a gearbox designed to a certain philosophy in Brackley that we have to shoehorn into our philosophy because we don’t know what their philosophy is; we only know what our philosophy is, the two don’t match. Which is very different to another team that might take a gearbox that’s using an identical philosophy to the one they’re getting the gearbox from. It makes a big difference.”

If Haas continue to perform at or above the level they showed in Australia they are on course for their best season yet. Force India and McLaren know they must make rapid progress with their cars to get on terms. This is undoubtedly why they have sounded the alarm over the nature of Haas’s relationship with Ferrari.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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94 comments on “Analysis: Why Haas faces fresh outcry over its relationship with Ferrari”

  1. short answer: because it works…

    1. pretty much, if you’re afraid you can’t beat them on track, distract them in other areas. Haas has never hidden their plans to exploit that area of the rules to the limit.

      1. I think you are quite right. This is – also -about rocking the boat and testing if Haas has the ability to stay focused despite the commotion created. And even more so if Haas has to spend technical resources and management time defending the car during a formal FIA investigation.

    2. Toto not Patty mode
      31st March 2018, 3:02

      And because the car aerodynamically is almost identical to ferrari’s Last year. Watch the pictures posted in many other web sites that show that those two are almost identical and even the front wings are pretty much the same. So they not only get the engine, transmission, gear box but also the same external appearance that is almost identical to last year’s Ferrari while force India, Williams, Mclaren,Red Bull, sauber and even Toro Rosso built most of their cars.

  2. So maybe then, Force India, Williams et al should re-evaluate their racing and business strategy to emulate Haas as opposed to moaning and crying foul. I agree with Steiner- these other teams should be looking into the mirror and asking themselves some tough questions. There is nothing stopping Force India from making a business proposition to Merc that is similar to Haas and I fail to see why Merc would object to such a model. They get to sell more parts and boost revenues. These other teams have been caught napping and as always with F1 the finger pointing begins as opposed to taking responsibility for their lack of shrewdness. Go Haas!

    1. +1 Unless evidence emerges of some kind of pay-off collaboration on track during races, I don’t see any problem with another competitive team. Much the opposite. Maybe it’s up to Mercedes, then, to give their own customers some kind of boost up.

    2. This reply is spot on, well said!

    3. Perfectly well said tbh. And if Merc have rejected such a proposition then the backlash should be focussed on them, not Haas.

    4. That would be terrible for F1 though. You’d end up with 2 or 3 real teams and a bunch of hangers-on who would be helpless without the parent team’s help. You can definitively split F1 into two categories then.

      Better to limit what Haas does to new teams, and force them to phase it out over a set number of years to give them time to build their own car.

      1. I think an engine manufacturer would have more options for control over a customer team than a chassis manufacturer does.

      2. @krommenaas

        I couldn’t agree more. If the other midfield teams decide to go the Haas-Ferrari route, it would absolutely destroy the sport. There would effectively be 3 or 4 big teams who give their engine, chassis design, suspension parts etc to smaller teams. These smaller teams would effectively help the parent team on track, and off track, by acting as parts testing and political partners. Essentially, F1 would become a 3 to 4 team sport with each big team having their own B/C/D teams.

        I don’t agree with the Force India bashing here. Force India has designed its own chassis, own parts and fights tooth and nail every year to be the best of the midfield. Now you have Haas, with half the workforce that takes Ferrari’s chassis, parts and engine of to develop a car that’s faster than Force India. Effectively, Haas is the by product of all the effort and R&D that Ferrari did last year, which is considerably larger than what Force India spends in 2 or 3 seasons. So yes, I don’t blame them for being upset.

        Additionally, people who think that Mid-field teams need to ‘reevaluate’ their strategy, are just not seeing the bigger picture. Can Force India do the same with Mercedes? Hell yes. And they’ll be quicker than Haas out of the box for sure. Can Williams do the same? Every midfield team could go this route.. but is this route really good for the sport?

        I think Haas is perfectly entitled to be where there are right now, because technically they are within the rules. No one has any proof on under the table dealings of both Haas and Ferrari, so nothing other than claims to investigate can be made by other teams. For now, Force India have to just suck it up and get down to work… but if they decide to partner with Mercedes in 2019 to create a Mercedes B team, it would be a slap in the face of FOM and FIA for not thinking through this direction that the sport will be heading in.

        1. @krommenaas @todfod otoh teams actually bought whole cars in the past – when Lotus introduced the 25 it was the only Monocoque car not only among several F1 cars, but also among several Lotuses (the others being 24s sold to privateers). Besides, engines are already something that can be bought off the shelf (in fact probably already less so now than at a point in the past, which was when Cosworth dominated) and tyres are already standardised (hasn’t always been that way afaik).

          That said I do agree in having such concerns to some degree – wouldn’t want F1 to be an engine-aero pack thing like Indycar was for a few years myself.

        2. There are pluses and minuses to both arguments.
          What is interesting is that there is a direct comparison between the current two ‘most competitive on a small budget’ teams, with Force India following the modern F1 ‘independent constructors’ approach, & Haas taking the ‘race team running a bought car’ approach.
          Under any much needed FIA cost cap, the Force India approach would work for most of the established teams who have had many years to build up their infrastructure, while the Haas approach would definitely help new teams become competitive more quickly.
          The obvious risk with more teams following the Haas approach, is that they become reliant on the manufacturers for too much, and should those manufacturers leave (as they often do), teams will struggle to go back to being independent constructors in the short term.
          The best way to avoid that is for future rules to require those components to be sourced from outside suppliers … so back to ZF / Hewland / etc for boxes, Eibach / Bilstein / Koni / etc for suspension, and so on for the current list of parts Haas can currently buy from Ferrari. That will drop costs inline with budget caps, & allow competitors to get the most winning ‘off-the-shelf’ parts at any stage if they want to.
          Under current (or similar) rules, however, perhaps there should be a time limit set on how long a team can buy so much of the car as with the Haas model … maybe 5 years to allow them to grow their design & factory / manufacturing facilities to the level of other teams, when they will need to manufacture more in-house.
          That would still encourage new teams to enter with the chance to be competitive and spread their investment over a longer period.

      3. @krommenaas and @todfod– gentlemen, without babbling on too much I put to you Moto GP and satellite teams. Moto GP doesn’t seem to be doing too badly with such an arrangement?

        1. I get your point. Moto Gp is exciting as racing formula, but I don’t think it’s due to the fact that Ducati, Yamaha and Honda control the grid. In F1, I like the fact that teams like McLaren and Williams have also done well in F1 despite being non-manufacturers. I also like the fact that teams like Brawn have been able to win a championship, and that teams like Force India, have steadily gone from last on the grid to he best of the midfield on merit. Maybe it’s just me, but I like that in a sport that’s the pinnacle of Motor racing, all 10-11 teams bring their own effort to the table and race it out on track.

          I’m sire there are people who will disagree… but it’s just my 2 cents and personal opinion.

    5. I think the question is: To what degree do Ferrari help Haas?

      You only have to look at the front wing to see it is almost identical. The rest of the car looks almost a carbon copy of last years Ferrari too.

      So I think it is correct to make sure the rules are being adhered to as that sort of performance jump along with the identical looking cars does raise a few suspicions. How easy it is to tell if there has been help or not is a different matter. If everyone simply denies the accusations then how do the FIA find out?

      1. so what if it looks like last year’s Ferrari, we’ve had 12 months of that car being out on display for anyone to copy that wants to. You can even buy a digital 3D model of it (and every other F1 car) for $50. They all copy each other. It makes sense for them to go that way adjusted for the longer 2018 wheelbase that they have little to no say in. That said, if it turns out that Haas got detailed designs from Ferrari, I’ll change my mind, but I haven’t seen anything to suggest they’re doing anything more than what they’ve said they were going to do for the last 3 years.

      2. It would be Nice if Force India ran last years Merc.

    6. I agree 100% Blazzz!

  3. What Haas do is brilliant, they show decent competiveness as a new team in the most cost effective manner. Little teams force silly rules like testing restrictions, less engines etc but if another team maximises the rules to be competitive in a cost effective manner they complain. Although very unlikely I would love Haas to finish 4th.

  4. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    29th March 2018, 12:20

    Soumds like sour grapes? Perhaps F.I. need to negotiate/forge a better relationship with Merc?

  5. Key sentences:

    This is what the likes of McLaren and Force India are afraid of.

    The change in the aerodynamic regulations from 2016 to 2017 was a major disruption for Haas. But as the rules have remained largely stable this year it has had 12 months to study last year’s race-winning SF70H

    Don’t know what is worse, Haas effectively going too far on the rules. Which I don’t think they did, and while the cars are similar, there are big differences too.

    Or the fact that McLaren and Mercedes powered teams, are afraid of being beaten by a Ferrari that is one year old. In essence that is what they are complaining about

    For the sport I just wish more teams like Haas come along, at least they seem stable from the very beginning.

    1. They are afraid of being beaten by a chassis built on a 1 year old Ferrari design running a very improved current Ferrari engine.

    2. Exactly… +1

    3. @johnmilk

      For the sport I just wish more teams like Haas come along, at least they seem stable from the very beginning.

      You mean teams that don’t rely on their own engineers to design a car, but instead just partner up with a larger team and take their year old car?

      1. @todfod because you know that is the case? Or is this one or your anti-Everything Ferrari touches comment?

        Because this rampage you are on, because a team is exploiting the rules is a bit nonsense if you don’t have definitive proof that they are indead cheating.

        And yes, I want teams to come into the sport and have reasonable short term success, that will serve as encouragement to new ones, I think we both can agree that is a good thing right?

        1. @johnmilk

          because you know that is the case? Or is this one or your anti-Everything Ferrari touches comment?

          It’s called eyes. Maybe you should use them some time. Let me help you out by telling you exactly what you need to look for – The difference between the chassis of Haas’ current challenger vs Ferrari’s 2017 challenger.

          Because this rampage you are on, because a team is exploiting the rules is a bit nonsense if you don’t have definitive proof that they are indead cheating.

          It looks like Haas has xeroxed Ferrari’s 2017 car… I think you should be providing the proof that Haas’ engineers have magically followed the same train of thought as Ferrari’s engineers last year to come up with their current chassis. And also prove that the fact that they have a technical partnership for all the possible ‘legal’ parts is a massive coincidence.

          And yes, I want teams to come into the sport and have reasonable short term success, that will serve as encouragement to new ones, I think we both can agree that is a good thing right?

          I’d like that too.. but I like it lesser than a team that beats it’s competition due to it’s strategic and political alliances.

          1. @todfod you will have to make me a drawing because I have my prescription glasses out of date.

            I don’t have to prove a thing, you’re the one saying they are cheating. Or you just don’t like how they go about doing their business?

            The car is similar, yes, there is differences too, you will also see similar bits in every other car on the grid. Even if they copied it, there is no rule saying they can’t, and if they succeed in that copy, congrats to them, because others have said that it isn’t easy to change to Ferrari’s philosophy.

            Now if they have went to far on their Ferrari partnership, that’s what people acussing them of doing so will have to prove.

            Still funny though, the others feel the need to complain about the performance of what they think is a year old Ferrari after one race, which coincidentally is the track Haas is usually strong.

          2. @johnmilk

            Just look up Keith’s comparison (in a slider format to make it easy) during the car launch time. That should help you out regardless of your eyesight.
            If you think a team like Haas can magically jump themselves from the 8th fastest car on the grid at the end of last year, to the 4th fastest car on the grid despite having the least number of human resources and probably the least financial resources on the grid, then you believe in miracles. I’m more realistic in my approach, when I see that they suddenly started outperforming, with a car that looks identical to the team they have a partnership with.
            Since you mentioned that all cars copy each other and are similar to one another, how about showing me any f1 car that bears the same amount of resemblance that the Haas has to last year’s Ferrari. I’ve been watching car unveilings since 2007, and never have I ever come across two cars with a stronger resemblance.

          3. @todfod the 4th fastest after one race? Lets at least wait a couple more!? Again a track where they have been strong, they finished P6 in their debut in F1 there! They qualified P6 last year, same as? You guessed it, this year! All this fuss about such a small team that didn’t even finished the race. Where was the miracle las year?

            I didn’t said they are similar to eachother, I said there are some bits similar across the grid. And never said they aren’t the two cars that most resemble eachother. My point is, if what they are doing is allowed by the rules, what exactly is the problem?

            Btw, you can also use the sliders to check the differences.

  6. If it’s legal, there’s really no point pointing the finger. Find a way to replicate the set-up, as others have mentioned. It’s not a particularly good look, image-wise, either…

    1. @ecwdanselby, as others have said, the question is going to be whether what Haas are doing is completely above board, or if there are areas where they are potentially going beyond what is permitted.

      We know that the FIA felt it necessary to investigate both Ferrari and Haas over the amount of wind tunnel testing time being done on the VF-16, amid suggestions that information from Haas’s wind tunnel tests was being transferred to Ferrari, and vice verse, which effectively allowed the two teams to combine their wind tunnel testing quotas in a way that wasn’t permitted under the regulations.

      Now, in that instance the FIA seemed satisfied that what was going on was acceptable, though there was still a sense of resentment amongst some teams – I recall that Red Bull were particularly vocal, since they suggested that the level of technological transfer going on between Haas and Ferrari was more than they were permitted to do with Toro Rosso.

      The accusations facing Haas now have cropped up in the past, and I think it is inevitable that there will be questions over just how much information is being exchanged between Haas and Ferrari whilst the current arrangement persists.

  7. This is Not last year’s Ferrari- that car was Red. Some people …

    1. It is red, they just put a layer of white over it.

    2. Too bad Force India does not get last years Merc and paint it Pink. That would be too much fairness there.

  8. It will be interesting to read opinions when GROS and MAGN start driving too close to VETT and RAIK as to affect Ferrari’s strategy in a race…..l assume everyone is comfortable if Haas “helps” by being a back buffer to challenge Red Bull and give Ferrari a breathing room to challenge Merc…l don’t think Ferrari and Haas are “working” together but as l said, it should be interesting to see what happens when all of a sudden Haas has a shot at racing for the podium….l am counting on MAGN to ignore any “instructions” and give us some excitement.

    1. Well, the team can almost decide the “Australian wheelnuts” again than.

    2. @f1supremo

      I think it’s going to be a major talking point of the season. I’m pretty sure Haas will just get out of the way, or pretend to battle for a corner or two before the Ferrari driver puts in a “spectacular” overtaking move.

  9. What’s the problem with Satellite teams? it works so well in MotoGP then why not in F1?

    1. It’s because of what it means to be a “constructor”…

    2. It doesnt work well in MotoGP they just dont have any other choice.

    3. I am a huge motogp fan but its a completely different world. Some of the stuff that goes on over there would never work in F1.

    4. EXACTLY! i agree completely

  10. I’m actually really intrigued by magnussen in a strong car- After all he was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread before being Ronned

    1. Who would you say is No. One driver at the team?…..aggressiveness would point to MAGN but experience would say GROS.

      1. Well i just assumed it was rogro- but the way kmag went up against verstappen had me membering he was supposed to be top notch

    2. this might not go down well here, but I have the feeling that McLaren did a mistake when they went with Button over Perez, and did it again when they wen with Button over K-Mag.

      Statistics don’t really help my argument, but I’m on the internet so who cares?

      1. I’d argue it was kind of a pointless Choice who parked their recent cars

    3. @mrboerns
      Magnussen is really impressive and i loved his hard driving vs Verstappen. One of the highlights of the race.

  11. So after 1 year of observing/copying Ferrari and no significant change in regulations Haas is further behind than they were last year.
    Haas (copying Ferrari) is not the problem; it’s the other teams who need to step up their efforts.

  12. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    29th March 2018, 13:11

    As long as it’s legal, I see no problem. Obviously teams will try to get them investigated, but maybe they should just do the same. Plus, it’s not uncommon to see teams copy other cars a year later, just like pretty much everyone has copied Ferrari’s bargeboards, or McLaren copying Mercedes with the turbocharger.

    1. There is a big difference in copying concepts from other cars and literally having a carbon copy car. The cars look so similar it would be likely that Haas has data on the design otherwise they would not understand the subtle forms on the wing etc and it would likely not work very well.

      Look at Concorde. The Russians got hold of stolen designs and built their own version. However as they did not understand the western design language and they didn’t have the full data, they failed to understand how Concordes amazing wings worked (They do not work the same as most aircraft). They ended up with an aircraft that was dangerously unstable despite clearly being a copy.

      As Haas’ car looks identical and performs not far off as well as last years Ferrari, I would put a good bet on them having data from Ferrari. Unfortunately it will be practically impossible to know for sure unless a whistle blower comes out of the woodwork.

      1. That is a completely inaccurate representation of the history of the Tu-144 which was a very different plane to Concorde

        1. Also, most of the tu’s troubles were related to the engines.

          1. No it was not a totally different plane! It was very similar. They are know the have copied the designs. Concordes wing was very special, it generated vortexes through its complex curves in order to generate lift at low speeds. The TU-144 did not have this and hence it was unstable. They had to add canards to the aircraft to improve low speed stability. Yes they engines were also an issue too but that was in addition to the handling issues.

          2. While there was a degree of espionage its impact is doubtful.
            The superficial similarities can be explained by the similiar goal and same laws of physic.
            However there were substantial differences.
            Tupolev strived to place the engines as close as possible to the fuselage for fear of asymetric thrust(a factor that later played a role in the loss of F-BTSC).
            The plane suffered from a tight schedule (5years from Start to maiden flight) still the production model is believed to have been aerodynamically superior to Concorde. It had both a more favourable lift to drag ratio in Cruise (in part driven by the Need to compensate for the subpar engines) and lower minimum speeds. The canards were indeed added to balance the Distribution of lift because unlike Concorde, the tu144 had flaps which led to a nose-heavy trim. Just look at the pictures of the tu-takeoff from Le bourget in 73. Impressive!
            Also, the Landing Gear, one Area were Blueprints were stolen, was Completely different to deal with Soviet runnways. In fact, a 144 (77108?) Succesfully landed on a dirt runnway upon retirement.

  13. Its only one race, lets see over a longer period…

    At the moment, congratulations on building a great car!

  14. I think Haas has taken us another step closer to the idea of ‘customer cars’ but by a slightly different route.
    Personally, I can’t see what’s wrong with the idea of buying a car from another team and entering it under your own team name. It seemed to work well in the fifties and sixties. At the very least, it would help to spread the development costs.

    1. @nickwyatt Hey mate, I have often thought about the same thing. I believe that it is better if every team is a constructor but if that model does not work for some reason, then customer cars are better than no cars, right?

      Teams are obviously unhappy about another competitor, which can take away ‘their’ points (it is quite telling that even Red Bull are apparently in direct competition with Haas right now), especially knowing that they have spent much less money to get there. But what is the next logical step? An official protest? If someone truly believes that there is more Ferrari in the Haas than allowed, then it certainly is the way to go.

      If not, then the unhappy teams can try to change the regulations ie. reduce the number of listed parts. That could diminish the already depleted F1 grid even further and ultimately hurt the sport and all its participants. Or they can choose to follow Haas’s example; it is hard to imagine McLaren or Red Bull doing that though.

      1. customer cars are better than no cars, right?

        @girts Absolutely! We have 77% of a full grid at the moment which is pretty silly. Imagine if the NFL had to say “There’s only 24 teams entered next season instead of the 32 we licensed and expected, so everyone will have to play everyone else a few more times to make up the numbers”.

        1. @nickwyatt
          So lets just add the GP2 field then?

          1. I think you mean Formula Two.
            Y’know, I looked back to a few of the seasons in the late fifties and found a few grand prix where the Formula Two field had taken part but I have no idea of the reasons behind it.
            At least F2 can field a full grid and provide pretty good racing with overtaking, and as I have said before I think there is a reasonable argument for making F1 into a spec series just like Indy Car, F2 and GP3:- lower cost of entry, technical conformity, ease of scrutineering and compliance, greater equality of access, lack of wasted parallel development etc, etc.

          2. @nickwyatt @rethla Not F2 cars but probably some F2 teams would be able to enter F1 if it was more accessible / affordable. Prema team boss has said he would consider it if customer cars were permitted.

            For sure, there are better ways to attract new teams, such as more equal distribution of the prize money or a budget cap. But if it is not possible to have that, then other ways need to be explored as well.

            I just found an interesting article from 2015 where James Allen argues that the Haas way (or the co-constructor model as he calls it) is actually a good compromise. That said, it was shortly before Haas had made their F1 debut:

          3. @nickwyatt
            Why would you wanna create yet another specc series out of the only unique one?

        2. @rethla
          Well it’s partly out of disappointment with the restrictive FIA practice which seems to be to ban anything they haven’t thought of or restrict everything else that they have thought of.
          Back in the sixties and seventies, the regulations were much loser and allowed individual designers to create wonderful monsters ranging from the Brabham fan car to the Tyrell P34. Since then, the FIA seem to be intent on bolting down the regulations on every aspect of racing from tyre pressure to fuel flow in an attempt to promote fairness of competition. This in itself, is suffocating engineering creativity and forcing teams into investing millions in search of tenths of a second.
          So why not abandon all effort to restrict and create a benchmark equal formula that would be available almost ‘off-the-shelf’ to any interested party? You never know, it could allow credible teams to emerge from South America, Southern Asia or Africa.
          I’m not sure that the concept of an ‘open’ formula exists any more. Every form of racing or sport is restricted; you can’t field a team of 20 in soccer and you can’t sandpaper the ball in cricket.
          Dunno, maybe I’m just cynical but the idea of spending billions collectively in pursuit of half a second seems stupid.
          Or maybe the FIA should abandon all regulations and allow a complete free for all and allow 10-litre V-10’s with four wheel drive, massively blown diffusers and movable aerodynamic parts to race in F1. Problem would be that any spectators would probably have to be 100+ metres away from the action to be safe.

  15. Neil (@neilosjames)
    29th March 2018, 14:27

    I have a serious dislike for the idea of customer cars, so as much as I want all the teams to succeed and get closer to the front, the pace of Haas relative to the ‘full constructors’ of the midfield makes me very uneasy.

    The last thing I want to see is an F1 where the easiest route to the front of the midfield is piggybacking on one of the works teams. There’s already too much reliance on the big manufacturers, if more teams take the Haas route it’ll be even worse.

    1. I have a serious dislike for the idea of customer cars


      There’s already too much reliance on the big manufacturers

      Is that the fault of the big manufacturers, the smaller teams or the FIA regulations?

      1. Customer cars make teams buy the best cars with the best engines effectively pushing out under performing manufacturers and thus ending up with one type of car which is a spec series as a result.

        1. @silfen
          That’s what happened with Stewart, Tyrell, Osella, ATS, Minardi, Lola and a hundred others in the ‘open competition’ scheme. Was this any better?

          1. Yes! Because if you allow customer cars the number of entries will drop over time (car manufacturers first if they are constantly beaten by other teams customer cars) and you end up with a spec series of which there are enough already.

            F1 is unique and should stay that way.

          2. @silfen I’m sorry but we will have to disagree. I agree that the most successful will always remain, but at the moment the barrier to entry almost looks insurmountable to most prospective entrants and the regulations do not allow for innovative intruders.
            F1 is unique and will ultimately die so.

    2. I’d be ok with customer cars if they were not permitted to collect ‘constructor’ points. Although…Ferrari would be happier if all Haas constructor points were given to the real constructor.

      Haas may have found a great loophole in the rules – one that Stroll-Williams need to exploit asap.

      1. @jimmi-cynic
        For ‘points’ read MONEY.
        Sort this out and everything else will follow.

  16. I think the only thing haas designed was the wheel nuts.

    1. They are Mclaren made

      1. Yes, buy stuff from those who are known to make bad ones!

  17. Very hypocritical. These little teams and Red Bull push for spec engines or buy in engines from manufacturers but if a team has a similar car to a manufacturer with a clever cost effective business model and beats them they are up in arms. If they want cost saving they need to do what Haas have done, it’s within the rules they all agreed. Little teams are not constructors as they do not construct an engine they are chassis builders, they now know what it feels like for manufacturers when they try and dumb down the engine technology. Hope Haas beat all the complaining teams.

  18. I think a split screen comparison between the 2017 Ferrari and 2018 Haas would be cool.

    1. Well, I can tell you now… the wheelbase is off, the suspension is different, the bargeboards are different, and therefore the rest of the car is different too.

      1. Wheelbase is the same as the 2018 Ferrari – since it uses the 2018 Ferrari suspension.

    2. I believe Keith had posted a comparison during the time of car launches. I don’t know what grat’s talking about. Other than a couple of minor bargeboard differences, the car was a spitting image of the 2017 challenger.

      1. Since the suspension of the 2018 Haas is based on the 2018 Ferrari, which has a longer wheelbase, and therefore a different suspension, the Haas can not be a copy of the 2017 Ferrari.

        Since the suspension is also now a part of the aero package (a minor one, but F1 is all about micro-percentage gains here and there), changing the wheelbase means changing the suspension which means changing the airflow around the car. Having different bargeboards means having different airflow into and around the sidepods.

        Yes, I’m sure both cars are heavily influenced– but if the 2018 Haas was a copy of either the 2017 Ferrari or the 2018 Ferrari, Haas would be vulnerable to heavy penalties from the FIA, it doesn’t make any sense.

        1. That’s the exact explanation given by Gunther, but then how on earth could you explain the identical sidepods, front wing, coke bottle shape around the engine cover, airbox, and pretty much everything else I could notice? Coincidence?
          It looks like a 2018 suspension and wheel base integration with a Ferrari 2017 chassis to me. I’m pretty sure it looks pretty similar to others as well, or else it wouldn’t even be a point of discussion right now.

  19. One of the basic principals of sports is to give competitors a level playing field and then to see who beats who. Yet some teams get special payments that other teams can’t get, and that seems to be considered fair and acceptable. There’s unfair entry rules that restrict the money paid to new entrants for their first year competitive season, so Haas received less than half of what last placed Sauber did as a result of their 2016 season’s efforts, which also seems to be considered fair and acceptable. But when a team buys a $1M chassis, which presumably was profitable for the manufacturer, and then they combine that with a competitive engine and good drivers, people say this isn’t fair nor acceptable.

    1. Difficult to argue against that @drycrust.

  20. Open message to Force India, McLaren, Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso: File a formal complaint with the FIA or shut the @#$% up.

  21. The most fun part of it is to hear such complains from McLaren, considering how they’ve been designing their road cars.

  22. Personally I don’t like the way teams only complain after Haas proves competitive. If they really felt it was an issue why not complain before the 1st race?

  23. Would it really be bad if we had 4-5 teams within half a second of big teams?

    I wouldnt mind Williams and SFI buying Mercedes parts, gearbox. Rear mounting points similar cooling solution etc.

    Bring it.

  24. F1 is Ferrari championship.

  25. Another opinion. Steiner (the idea guy) and Haas (the money man) looked at the rules as written which were agreed on by every team on the grid and found a way to start a team with less capital outlay that is competitive out of the box. If “blame” lies anywhere it is on FIA and the teams for allowing the rules as they are. F1 is an extremely expensive sport to get into, even for (and maybe moreso due to legacy payments, etc.) for back markers. F1 needs a way for teams to come into the sport with less initial cost. The chances of another team coming in that is willing and able to throw down Red Bull or Mercedes type money at this point are roughly the same as Eddie Jordan winning Monte Carlo this year on a Vespa. Real world conditions just won’t allow it. So more power to Steiner and Haas for finding a way in. It’s good for the sport and shows it can be done.

    I do, however, fully agree that there should be a time limit involved. Another commenter says five years. That seems a reasonable amount of time to set up in-house development and get the team following the “whole build” spirit of F1.

    Is the VF-18 a carbon copy of the ’17 Ferrari? Possibly. Does anyone think F1/FIA didn’t look VERY carefully at the car to make sure it falls within current rules? Of course they did. That’s what they do. Once again, don’t blame Haas for the system they’ve come into. The very nature of sport, particularly motorsport, is to run as close to the edge of the rules as they can to eke out every possible advantage. Ferrari and Mercedes have CLEAR monetary advantages that no other team has. The missing first year payments to new teams is a clear disadvantage to new teams that Haas has had to work through. If Haas have a relationship with Maranello that gives them an advantage, and if that advantage doesn’t break any rules then again, more power to them.

  26. Haas are just smart. I would have no issues with Mercedes supplying last years Merc to FOrce india or anyone else of that matter and same goes for the Ferrari/Haas partnership. If it means theres 10 or more cars fighting for podiums then im all for it!
    If you want on your own then thats up to you

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