Haas has lodged a protest against both Force India cars, the FIA has confirmed.
The reason for the protest has not yet been confirmed. However RaceFans understands Haas is querying whether Racing Point Force India, which purchased the assets of Sahara Force India when the latter went into administration in July, qualifies as a constructor as defined by Formula 1’s rules.
Teams must hold the intellectual property to their designs in order to qualify as constructors, and therefore score points and receive a share of F1’s prize money pot.
This suggests Haas’s protest is targeted at Force India’s share of F1’s prize money. The two teams have been at odds over Force India is eligible to receive from F1 since its re-entry into the sport when it emerged from administration in August.
The protest may therefore have one of two goals. One could be to deprive Force India of its share of the prize money it has earned since returning to F1. This lost share would return to the pot and be redistributed among the other nine teams, including Haas.
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Alternatively, Haas may be seeking to gain prize money it did not receive when it entered F1 in 2016 and during its second season in 2017. As a new constructor, Haas was not eligible for a ‘column one’ payment potentially worth up to $60 million (£50 million) across the two seasons. However Racing Point Force India has received a column one payment since returning to F1, despite being regarded as a new constructor.
Speaking to media at the previous round in Brazil, Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer said he believed the prize money dispute had been resolved.
“I think there is a resolution already and hopefully by the end of the season it’ll just be even more solidified if that’s possible. But as far as I can see it’s resolved.”
Haas says it will not comment on the matter before tomorrow’s ruling.
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