Romain Grosjean, Haas, Monza, 2018

Haas will appeal Grosjean’s Italian GP disqualification

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has confirmed that his team are appealing against Romain Grosjean’s exclusion from the Italian Grand Prix.

Grosjean was disqualified from his sixth place finish at Monza after a Renault protest led stewards to determine that Haas’s floor was not in compliance with a technical directive given to the teams prior to the summer break.

In a statement shared on the team’s official Twitter account, Steiner confirmed that his team will appeal the decision.

“We do not agree with the Stewards’ decision to penalize our race team and we feel strongly that our sixth-place finish in the Italian Grand Prix should stand,” says Steiner. “We are appealing the Stewards’ decision.”

Prior to the disqualification, Grosjean’s sixth place had seen Haas draw level on points with Renault, the team that lodged the initial protest, for fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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49 comments on “Haas will appeal Grosjean’s Italian GP disqualification”

  1. Sour grapes

    1. It’s sour grapes to exercise your right of an appeal?

    2. On the part of Renault, yes.

  2. The story:

    They said Haas had breached article 3.7.1 d of the Technical Regulations, which focuses on the radius of the leading corners of the floor’s reference plane.

    Back in July, governing body the FIA issued a Technical Directive clarifying the regulation and stipulated that teams must bring their cars into conformity before the Italian Grand Prix.

    It emerged during the hearing that Haas emailed the FIA, as is common in these matters, with details of their new solution but because of the limited time, given the summer break and two-week shutdown, they had asked for some flexibility in the matter.

    They said they would “endeavour to introduce this upgrade for the Singapore GP but will be somewhat at the mercy of our suppliers”.

    The FIA did not respond to the latter point, with Haas telling the stewards at the hearing that it was their understanding that “a lack of response on the matter of timing that their solution and timing were accepted”.

    But the stewards said in their statement: “While the Stewards are also sympathetic to the difficulties of producing these parts, the Stewards noted that at least one other competitor was able to comply in the time provided.

    1. Well it sounds like it’s the FIA’s fault. Why didn’t they response? The disqualification can be reasonably dropped based on this failure of communication alone.

      1. I don’t see Haas winning this appeal. No response = believe the current deadline applies. If, as Haas claim, they couldn’t get the floor to be compliant before this race then I don’t know what they’re supposed to do. A 50 mm radius is pretty precise, so you can’t just cut a bit off the corner of the floor with a hacksaw. Still, Ferrari obviously had a compliant floor, and so did Sauber, so I’m guessing the Stewards will be unmoved by their predicament.

      2. Lack of response does not mean they’re application for an extension is accepted. You can’t just assume that!

      3. @mangyblacksheep, there are some sources that suggest that, when the FIA issued that technical directive, they gave an explicit warning to Haas that they would be using the floor at their own risk and that the other teams could challenge it if they didn’t modify it before the Italian GP.

        If there was a targeted and explicit warning from the FIA that they would be using that floor at their own risk before Haas then tried asking for an extension of time, I would suggest they knew it was going to be extremely risky to ask for an extension of time for a part they’d already been warned about and that it probably wasn’t going to be granted.

        The FIA would probably also be able to argue that Haas’s claim that they needed more time to produce a floor that would comply is questionable given that this was a mid-season upgrade. The original floor that the team had from the start of the season through to Monaco did comply with that particular regulation, and it was only at the Canadian GP that they switched to the current design that no longer complies.

        They might therefore argue that Haas could have reverted back to the configuration they’d used at the start of the season, and that Haas knew it was gambling on another team not launching a protest against them by running the contentious floor for as long as it thought it could get away with it.

    2. Exemptions from the FIA do not work the way Haas described – they can only be used if specifically granted, and if that had happened, there would need to be an exemption for every team, not just Haas (therefore, such an exemption would have been made public by at least one of the parties involved).

      I think this may be inexperience showing through on Haas’ part.

      1. @alianora-la-canta No, I think it is just exactly as HaasF1 said it was -their floors are not done in house (legal) and it was physically impossible for them to accomplish the alteration in the time give. The root of this problem was that the FIA reg was not sufficiently specific when announced for 2019. Various teams did a variety of things with that aspect of the floor. They were not identical. That’s why clarification by the FIA was necessary. The FIA must allow time for teams to comply with changes to such a basic part of the car. Clearly, the Haas floor has been deemed LEGAL for the entire first half of the season and they were allowed to race that way. At Monza, the FIA were aware of the configuration of the floor on the Haas car and STILL allowed them to compete. That is, in itself, a tacit confirmation the explanation Haas gave, namely, that the FIA had not ruled their configuration illegal. In any event, the teams that made changes prior to Monza all construct their floor in-house, as far as I am aware. Allowances need to be made for supply chain delays and what is possible to accomplish. All of that, and I will also bet that Haas are being told that this disqualification will go away on appeal if they knuckle under and approve the way the NEW Stroll entry is being handled.

  3. Who do Renault think they are ??
    Ferrari ??

    1. Lol…!

  4. Having read the stewards report, and descriptions like the one quoted above by @erikje (by the way @erikje, did you read the 2nd page of the report where it says they asked that guy, and he said he had later discussions with them indicating it wasn’t his problem if they couldn’t comply, but theirs) I doubt they will be more successful than Sauber were after their regulatory disqualification from Australia 2012 (wasn’t it?), bc. it’s a car rules are car rules thing.

    1. I thought Sauber accepted the disqualification without appealing

      1. @mangyblacksheep, Sauber did initially suggest that they were going to protest against that decision – however, Key did then later withdraw that proposal after their own internal checks confirmed that the stewards were right and that the part in question did contravene the regulations.

  5. The ? is does the FIA normally respond and how have teams been told to handle a non response?

    This seems like a very minor thing

    If the FIA doesn’t always respond and if the teams have been told a non response means the letter of the rules applies then Hass has to suck it up. Personally I think there is a big gray area and the ruling should be over turned.

    1. @blueruck The FIA normally responds. However, if the response had involved granting an exception, it would have to have been granted to every team, not just one. It would almost certainly have been declared by either the FIA or at least one of the teams involved, so we’d be able to see that this had happened. There is also no provision for assuming an exception is granted in the case of non-response; without the evidence of exemption, the prevailing regulations are in effect for all competitors.

      Haas may have an administrative complaint to make, but it won’t enable them to win this case, only to force the FIA to improve its communication. (And said complaint could have been more easily and cheaply done – perhaps even getting the desired exemption granted! – simply by telling the press about the situation during the summer break).

    2. At no point can you assume that no response equals an agreement…

      Haas should have either pushed harder for a response or made sure their car was compliant.

  6. Haas should have just made a written appeal to the FIA requesting they grant them permission to race with the supposedly illegal dimensions. That way you force the FIA to issue a statement. But working with an in limbo permission is just not going to work. Because the rules are there to be complied with and the FIA usually love these situations where their inaction gives them the opportunity to penalise.

    1. In UK councils make up rules for CPZs on by 1 person’s supposed request. And frame a letter saying we decided to this and that and if you object to it, please respond in writing before x date. If you don’t respond and if we don’t receive 51% objection, we consider decision made and accepted by majority. If 39 out of 80 people formally and face to face object. They deny the objection that majority is not met there for go ahead with their 1 person’s request…. :)

      If teams frame a letter similar saying that we decided this modification, and if we don’t hear from you until this date with majority objection vote within FIA in writing with your reasons, we consider you accepted our mods there for we won’t accept any rejection or penalty after acceptance. 😎😁😁

      No-one bothers to write a letter.

      1. That is not how the sports regulations work…

        The rules are there for everyone to see. Asking for an exemption and not getting a response simply means that you are still bound by the rules unless a response is received stating otherwise. It is not up to a team to issue a demand for a response and unless they get one they will be skirting the rules and the FIA are forced to accept it!

        The council letters you are talking about are valid because the planning laws state that this is the process. If the FIA stated that their process was to accept anything the teams wanted to do as long as the FIA was notified and it was the FIAs responsibility to respond if they disagreed, then you would have a point… however they do not and the rules are the rules unless the teams are told otherwise.

        1. The FIA regulation in question has not been altered since the season began, and the car had been deemed legal throughout the entire first half of the season. The 50mm dimension was only part of a “clarification” letter, and Haas were unable to comply because of supply chain delays since their floor is not done in-house as with the other teams mentioned. Making the modification by Monza was impossible for them to achieve, as they informed the FIA. They may get some relief on appeal, especially since they were probably only penalized for this because they are dragging their feet on approving the manner in which Stroll has been granted a NEW entry license without regard to regulations and standard procedures. Petty BS.

          1. @gwbridge, whilst the regulation has not been altered since the start of the season, you are misunderstanding the situation when you say that “the car had been deemed legal throughout the entire first half of the season” because this wasn’t the original floor that was fitted to the car.

            The problems start from when Haas changed the floor of the car at the Canadian GP – the original design that they had been using from the start of the season up until then was different and there weren’t any questions about the legality of that design.

            They then introduced a new design in the Canadian GP, and it is shortly after they introduced that new design that the FIA issued that Technical Directive about the design of the floor. Now, it seems that both the FIA and Haas have suggested that there was a private meeting between Haas’s Head of Aerodynamics and the FIA’s Technical Delegate shortly after that directive – Haas have referred to such a meeting taking place in their defence to the stewards – where the Technical Delegate told Haas that, in his opinion, the floor that they’d introduced in Canada wasn’t legal.

            What then happened was that Haas went back to the FIA and asked the Technical Delegate to review and send back recommendations on a new design that Haas were producing, as well as asking for that delay in producing the parts – again, it seems both sides do agree on that point. In turn, the Technical Delegate then sent back a response to the first part of their query, which was to say that he thought that the new design would be legal so long as they made a few further minor amendments to it, as it seems that Haas also raised a few queries of their own.

            What is debated at the moment is the next part – whilst Haas say that the FIA didn’t respond to the second part, which was about the time extension, the FIA’s Technical Delegate has suggested that he did send a separate message acknowledging Haas were going to struggle to get new parts, but that he did tell Haas that they probably were going to have a protest launched against them if they turned up to Monza with that particular floor. Basically, it seems that he was telling Haas that it was tough luck and that the onus was on them to comply, not on the FIA to give them an extended grace period to comply.

            Now, it sounds as if the FIA had in fact warned Haas quite early on – probably as far back as late July, when the directive was first issued – that their new floor had to be changed by the Italian GP. Furthermore, the FIA would probably point out that Haas already had a legal design – the one that they had already used in the opening six races – and that Haas deliberately chose to spend time developing a new design when they could have gone back to the early season spec floor and used that instead.

            Indeed, there is an argument that, unless they’d already wrecked every single copy of the early season floor that they had, that they already had parts which would comply, so the supply chain argument is a bit of a weak defence. It sounds to me more like Haas would have known several months in advance that, if someone did launch a protest in Monza, the FIA probably would declare the floor was illegal and that Haas ultimately took a gamble that there wouldn’t be a protest rather than reverting back to the design they’d used earlier in the season.

        2. @LEE1 @gwbridge i know how official bodies work (my sentence was in some way a joke), and they always get away with rubbish rejections and approvals of their own choice, and many dont bother to go against it due to financial and time consumption involved as those in official bodies have all the money and time to waste as they please, but you dont have the same luxury… in FIA case, many knows how rubbish decisions they make time and time again…

          If they (HAAS) gets relief, what prevents other teams to use non compliant parts with similar excuses?

          1. I think you need to back up a few steps. The appeal by Haas would essentially challenge whether or not their car was actually illegal. If the original regulation has not been altered and the car was ruled by the FIA to be in compliance for the first half of the season, why is it now deemed illegal? Where does the FIA get off ruling that a legal design is suddenly illegal halfway through the season when the regulation has not been changed?

            And don’t think for a minute that the FIA’s anger over Haas questioning the RPFI non-compliant entry into the sport will not be a factor is weighing whether or not HaasF1 was disqualified or not. The FIA could easily have allowed Haas extra time since their supplier was unable to provide a modified floor within the FIA’s arbitrary time frame which CLEARLY favors teams who have in-house carbon fibre operations.

            It’s the FIA’s responsibility to write the regulations in a professional and straightforward manner which clearly defines what is legal and what is not. The FIA failed to do so and ruled that the Haas design WAS IN COMPLIANCE with the regulations as published prior to the beginning of the season and allowed them to race and score points.

  7. Grosjean needs to figure out who put the witch doctor curse or whatever on him because that dude just can’t get a break right now.

  8. I bet this is some way the FIA is trying to twist Haas hand so that they sign on to all the documents so that Race force force india get approved. This is the way F1 works, a brood of vipers. then again i could well be wrong

  9. What am I missing, if the FIA knew this was an issue, why was the ‘infraction’ not discovered before the race, they knew where to look.
    If the car was illegal why was it allowed to start?

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      3rd September 2018, 4:50

      Yes I thought they measured them before the race too. Wasn’t it Nick Heidfeld who was excluded from his home race in 2000 because his car was underweight

    2. It is strange that the floors of every car were not checked proactively, given there was a new regulation coming into force. However, scrutineers are in no way obliged to check pre-weekend (or even to find it during the other checks that happen during a weekend – there is a post-qualifying scrutineering check, and “spot checks” are technically allowed as well).

      1. (Also, the FIA might have known Haas was contemplating breaking the regulation but they have to wait for the car to fail scrutineering in case the team found a last-minute solution).

        1. They don’t examine the cars prior to or AFTER qualifying to see if they are legal? In this case, the FIA not only allowed a car they KNEW was “illegal” to race, but also to qualify. Seems pretty fishy to me, especially with the whole Stroll controversy still boiling.

    3. If the car was illegal why was it allowed to start?

      Short form? Because no one complained about it.

      Changing the scrutineering regulations would be hard, whereas pushing out a Technical Directive that would only be looked at if someone complained about it, is easy. Which means there could have been 18 other cars not in compliance (We know at least one car was in compliance), none of whom got singled out.

      The FIA issued a technical directive that they said they wouldn’t enforce unless someone complained, Haas asked if their solution qualified, and by the time the FIA agreed it was a reasonable interpretation of the TD, Haas said they might not have time because of a 3rd party supplier (and the two week shutdown).

      I have to wonder if Budkowski was behind this complaint– and whether he’s still privy to internal FIA documents.

  10. what exactly does this mean

    Stewards noted that at least one other competitor was able to comply in the time provided

    would be interested to know how many other teams had incorrect floors as well… not that it makes any difference. i’m a huge Haas fan but the rules are the rules. I definitely wouldn’t rely on the SMTP protocol when there are millions of dollars at stake in terms of championship points.

    1. It s interesting as I think their supplier was Ferrari? And smell something dirty/snister as they could be testing the limits of certain rules using “tricks” like this? Noone finds this kind of speed overnight.

      1. @mysticus The supplier of the physical part is Dallara. The design is by Ben Haas’s head of aerodynamics Ben Agathangelou and his team.

        1. fair enough in that case, but still not right, what prevents other teams to use same/similar excuses to use no compliant parts?

    2. I also find “at least one” interesting. Given the IP situation, I’d have expected the answer to be “all of them” unless there was a trick element that only some were exploiting.

  11. What’s the use to even bother since the results can’t be altered anymore anyway (the results of any given race are amendable only as long as they’re yet to be finalized.) It’s going to be nothing but a total waste of time for them and the FIA.

    1. @jerejj The results can be altered on appeal, hence Haas were given leave to do so (provided they pay the appeal fee etc. etc.).

      1. @alianora-la-canta No, they can’t. The results of any given race are always posted under two separate status. First under ‘provisional’ status in average 25 minutes after the end of the race in question, and then under ‘final’ status two to four hours after the end depending on things, and that’s the time frame in which any alteration to the results has to be done if it’s to be done.
        – See ‘Final Classification’ Vs., ‘Provisional Classification.’

        1. @jerejj, as grat notes, the document entitled “Final Classification” does have an explicit statement saying “Results subject to appeal of Stewards’ decision, Document no. 42“, so quite clearly the results can be amended on appeal.

          Furthermore, although it is rare, there are historical examples of a disqualification on technical ground being overturned on appeal at a later date.

          One notable example would be from the 2001 US Grand Prix, where Jarno Trulli was originally disqualified from 4th place due to excessive wear of his floor. On the 27th October, four weeks after that race and nearly two weeks after the end of the 2001 season, the FIA was forced to reinstate Trulli to 4th place when Jordan successfully argued that the stewards had made procedural mistakes that meant their decision was null and void.

          That decision that meant the FIA did not just change the results of that race, they officially changed the finishing order in the Constructors Championship as well – because of that decision, Jordan were officially promoted to 5th place and BAR were demoted to 6th (they would have been tied on points if the disqualification stood, but BAR would have been ranked ahead of Jordan on countback because their best results were two third places, whereas Jordan’s best results were two fourth places).

    2. Actually, the final classification has a note that says

      Results subject to appeal of Stewards’ decision, Document no. 42


      So yes, an appeal can still alter the results.

  12. I know much of it was of his own doing, but damn Grosjean has had some awful luck this year too.

  13. IMO, FIA punishing HAAS for complaining about the Force India deal. Also, thought FIA was trying 2keeping team $$$ down now this silly floor change.

  14. petebaldwin (@)
    3rd September 2018, 18:04

    Why did Renault have to protest for this to get looked into? I know it’s a weak area for them but I’d like to think the FIA could police some of it’s own rules!?

    1. @petebaldwin I suppose to force the FIA to investigate, I am assuming they would have expected the FIA to check the Haas and forbid them to start the race. Realising this was not happening, they filed a protest to force a check. I am just guessing here, obviously.

    2. I am actually now realising this was a rethorical question…. too late :)

  15. This is just unfair, really, its a small thing and I loved to see the great result of Grosjaen. This is just not a fair way from Renault to come higher. I doubt if there was an advantage anyways. I really hope the appeal from Haas is successful.

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