McLaren’s Zak Brown believes Haas’ technical relationship with Ferrari should be “looked at closely” following the early impressive performance of the US outfit’s VR-18 car.
Since its arrival in F1 in 2016, Haas has relied on a technical partnership with Ferrari for the supply of specific authorised parts in addition to its power unit, as well as on the design expertise of its chassis partner Dallara.
A the time of the team’s inception, the approach was deemed by founder Gene Haas as easier and more cost-effective for a new outfit seeking a spot among the elite.
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Haas’ VF-18 was quickly dubbed “the white Ferrari” during pre-season testing for its genuine resemblance to the Scuderioa’s 2017 SF70-H, and in Australia, upon confirmation of the car’s speed and performance, Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer suggested that perhaps the rules governing a team’s relationship with its design partner or supplier should be called into question.
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Brown agrees that in the case of Haas, a closer look at how the team collaborates with Ferrari is warranted.
“I don’t have any evidence” to suggest Haas was not operating within the rules,” Brown told Motorsport.com.
“We all know they have a very close alliance with Ferrari and I think we just need to make sure it’s not too close.
“There could be some influence, there’s certainly some parts of the car that look very similar to last year’s car. But that’s for the engineers and the FIA to look at more closely.”
Szafnauer wants the FIA to clarify once again the provisions and guidelines which apply in the case of a team’s technical relationship with a manufacturer, and investigate whether Haas is in compliance of those rules.
“All the aerodynamic surfaces have to be your own,” said the Force India manager.
“If they’re not, I don’t know how you can tell unless you start investigating. Scrutineering only tells you that it fits within the boxes of the regulations.
“Is it yours or somebody else’s [idea]? That’s the real question. And I don’t know the answer to that.
“Maybe it is their own, it’s just suspect – how can you gain that knowledge without history and the right tools and people?”
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