F1 team armed with ‘clear evidence’ ahead of crunch US GP investigation

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez on track during the United States Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez among those on track.

“Clear evidence” of track limits breaches will be presented to the stewards at the Wednesday hearing into the results of the United States GP.

On Tuesday, the FIA confirmed that Haas F1 Team has lodged a petition for a Right of Review into the classification of the United States Grand Prix, due to the American team alleging multiple unpunished breaches of track limits by other cars.

Red Bull, Aston Martin, and Williams have each been summoned, due to alleged breaches from Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, and Alex Albon – said offences are understood to be from cutting inside the white lines at Turn 6.

Initial hearing to allow Haas to present evidence

Wednesday’s initial hearing will see Haas and the three other teams present evidence to the US GP stewards about whether or not said offences took place, with none of the drivers having been given any penalty for the track limits breaches.

With Albon in ninth finishing 3.2 seconds ahead of Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg in 11th, a penalty for the Williams driver would drop him out of the points and hand a point to Hulkenberg – a potentially vital score with only two races remaining as Haas try to move off the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship standings.

Penalties for Perez and Stroll are less likely to be of benefit for Haas directly, due to how far ahead of Hulkenberg they finished in the race.

The petition for the Right of Review requires a presentation of evidence to the stewards which was not part of the initial decision-making (or lack thereof). This means that Haas presenting a “significant and relevant new element” would result in the petition being successful and triggering a full review.

According to Motorsport.com, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner is confident the evidence they have will result in success.

“It’s just a review,” Steiner said.

“There’s a regulation in place. I mean, in the end, if the stewards didn’t have the information, obviously they couldn’t take action. I fully understand that.

“But there is information, and now we’ll see what the FIA does, once they get the information. I think they need to take action, because otherwise, we make rules and then don’t do anything about it. That’s my opinion.

“OK, I fully respect if they didn’t see the pictures, how can they rule this for sure? But now we have clear evidence of it.”

Steiner made it clear that he doesn’t actually agree with the penalties for track limits breaches, but needs F1 to show consistency – particularly in light of the extensive penalties meted out at the Austrian and Qatar Grands Prix for the exact same offences being committed.

“We just want to bring the case up, because otherwise we need to change the rules. I’m not a big fan of track limits, to be honest,” Steiner said.

“I’m the last one who wants penalties on track limits. But if there’s a rule in place, we need as a sport to respect rules, that is more the principle of it, than the penalty.”

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But, while Hulkenberg could stand to gain a point, or more, depending on what – if any – penalties are handed out, Steiner downplayed the extent of the benefit to his team.

“I don’t think the penalty will make a difference to us where we are, at the moment,” he said.

“But in the end, we just need to go by the rules, we cannot sometimes apply the rule, and sometimes not. It’s not by choice, a rule is there, and if you need to change the rule, let’s discuss it, if you need to change track limits, discuss it.

“But not if it is written that it is four times you get five seconds and any consequent [offences] you get another five seconds, that’s what we should be doing. Like we did before. It’s not that we’re inventing something new.

“We will make the case if we can make the case because they should hear it, because there is new evidence. So we will make the case when we get to it.”

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