Having lost the battle but perhaps won the war, Guenther Steiner says Haas’ protest of Force India was never about preventing them from racing in Abu Dhabi.
Haas lodged a protest against Racing Point Force India racing the VJM11, stating that the car was not their intellectual property but rather that of Vijay Mallya’s Sahara Force India team.
They claimed the team had not designed the car.
The Abu Dhabi stewards dismissed Haas’ protest and recognised Force India as a new constructor with the VJM11s eligible to race.
Steiner says Haas’ protest was never about keeping Force India off the grid.
“Absolutely,” said Steiner, “because I wanted Force India to race. It was never the intention that we don’t want them to race.
“I am fine with Force India racing.”
Haas’ argument with Force India stems from the prize money allocated in Column 1 of the Concorde Agreement.
As per the regulations, teams may not earn that money in their first two seasons in Formula 1 with Haas prevented from doing so in 2016 and again in 2017.
They want the same rules to apply to Racing Point Force India.
“I got that answer now,” Steiner said. “Are they a new constructor? Yes they are.
“It was pretty clear what it says there. I need to read the detail but whatever it is, this is ruled now, so I cannot change it anyway.”
He added: “In the end it’s all about money.
“We don’t want more of the money, we just want that it is equal for everybody.
“We had to do two years (without prize money payments). In our opinion this is a new team and therefore we asked for this to be clarified.”
Haas have informed the FIA of their intent to appeal.