FIA demands change as Haas US GP appeal rejected

Sam Cooper
Nico Hulkenberg in action for Haas at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg in action for Haas.

The FIA have rejected Haas’ right of review as the governing body said there was no significant and relevant new evidence presented.

Haas submitted a protest during the Brazilian GP weekend over the race in Austin, claiming multiple cars fell foul of track limits at Turn 6 but were not punished.

Having met with Haas representatives, the FIA deemed that no new evidence had been submitted and therefore the appeal was rejected.

Haas fall at first hurdle in FIA protest

Haas’ alleged two breaches of regulations – Appendix L, Chapter IV, Article 2c) of the International

Sporting Code and Article 33.3 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations – were in relation to Alex Albon, Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.

As a result, Haas, Aston Martin, Williams and Red Bull were required to attend the initial hearing on

Wednesday with the stewards. Ferrari and McLaren also attended the meeting as any concerned party could request permission to be present.

Appearing on behalf of Haas was trackside engineering director Ayao Komatsu and external legal counsel Andrea Fioravanti.

To continue on the investigation and invoke Article 14.3 of the sporting code, Haas needed to provide substantial new evidence for their case but the FIA noted they only presented the on-board footage of the four cars in question. Each video showed the cars in Turn 6 and alleged that each left the track without punishment.

Haas also claimed that before the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix, the FIA race director Niels Wittich and the FIA single seater sporting director Steve Nielsen made several statements indicating that the track limit supervision at Turn 6 during the United States Grand Prix was not ideal.

Aston Martin, who were presented by team principal Mike Krack, legal director Oliver Rumsey and sporting director Andy Stevenson, argued that Haas had failed to submit any new evidence and said the on-board footage was not significant enough given the lack of CCTV to support the claims.

Red Bull’s sporting director Jonathan Wheatley agreed with the summation of Aston Martin and went further to suggest any comments made during the team managers’ meeting in Mexico was “completely irrelevant to this case.”

McLaren and Ferrari did not add anything while Williams agreed with the two previous statements.

Haas where then pressed by the stewards to elaborate on the statement made in their submissions concerning the unavailability of the on-board camera footage and in response, Fioravanti maintained that the evidence submitted was unavailable to the team at the time.

The meeting was adjourned at 15:30 CET on Wednesday, with the stewards going away to review the evidence,

That review concludes that the footage in relation to Sargeant, Perez and Stroll was not significant, not new, not relevant and was available to Haas at the time of the decision.

In regards to Albon, the stewards said it was not new, not relevant, was available to Haas at the time but was significant.

For those reasons, the review was rejected by the stewards who noted that the process has a very “high bar” for continuing onto the next phase.

The stewards did however admit that Albon did appear to breach track limits but the lack of CCTV meant they were unable to fairly judge every car at that portion of the Austin track.

They said it was “completely unsatisfactory” to not be able to monitor rule breaches and recommend “a solution to prevent further reoccurrences of this widespread problem be rapidly deployed.”

Haas do not have the right to appeal this verdict suggesting that is likely the end of it unless they choose to take it on to a higher power.