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Are Haas and Ferrari the new Mercedes-Racing Point?

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Ferrari are proving to be back during the 2022 season while Haas are making their return to the midfield.

On the other hand, some teams are quite uncomfortable with the close relationship these two teams share. Haas normally buy many old Ferrari parts to use in their new car.

The new regulations though meant that Haas this year could not do so. They are still powered by a Ferrari engine and some teams fear that the two teams are sharing more information than permitted to help Haas go up the ranks.

This reminded me of when some teams raised an eyebrow at the “illegal” Racing Point in 2020, which many claimed to look like a 2019 Mercedes. It was a story that hit headlines that season besides the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Haas does not seem to look similar to the Ferrari, are they still taking too much from the Scuderia?

Toto Wolff’s Comments

The FIA has nothing to say about the teams’ relationship but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff does.

The Austrian commented on how the regulations about the teams’ relationships must be looked at.

He said, “I think it needs reform because we want to avoid these kinds of discussions that we have now, and the polemic around the last few days or last few weeks. Everybody deserves to perform well, and people should get credit when they’ve done a good job.

“But some of the job-hopping or entity-hopping on the same premises is just creating arguments that are not necessary for the sport. So definitely for us, you know, we have Aston Martin in the wind tunnel that we had two years ago. Quite a s**tstorm about that. We have been handling them with the utmost diligence.

“But going forward, if we need to compromise our, let’s say, income ability, we need to do this, because none of the teams should be able to cooperate in a way that we’re seeing today, with some of the teams.”

Mercedes are also suppliers to McLaren and Williams. So far, there has been no controversy about the relationships these teams share.

Mercedes tend to have a closer relationship with Williams regarding their drivers’ programme, which saw George Russell become Lewis Hamilton’s teammate.

The 2020 Racing Point compared to the 2019 Mercedes

Image Credit: Motorlat

Comments from McLaren

McLaren Team Principal, Andreas Seidl believes that there should be a complete ban on relationships between teams, with a few exceptions.

He said, “It’s clear for us the Formula One should be a championship of 10 constructors, or 11 or 12, which means there should be no transfer happening of any IP which is related to core performance. The maximum that should be allowed to share is the power units and the gearbox materials. That’s it, there should be no sharing of any infrastructure and so on.

“As soon as you allow that, IP transfer is happening on the car side and we know also from the FIA, it’s difficult to police. And if something is not possible to police, you need to ban it.

“That’s for two reasons: because it makes B-teams overly competitive compared to teams like us and, at the same time, there’s the A-teams also benefiting from this which is even more worrying for us.

“We just hope with all the dialogue which is happening also with F1, with the FIA and between several teams also, that we finally see some action in the next years in order to correct this situation.”

While Seidl calls for the FIA to keep the distinction between “A-teams” and “B-teams”, the FIA is creating regulations such as the 2022 ones, to create a more levelled field.

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Alfa Romeo’s Verdict

Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur has no problem with the current rules.

He said, “I’m not sure that we have to change the regulation, it’s exactly the same story on the financial side – that we have to apply the rules. And the rules are strict enough to make it fair. And if you stick to the rule, it’s more than OK.

“It’s why I think that we are trusting the FIA because they have to do the job of the regulator and they are doing it, they are on it. And for me, it’s OK like this.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s new Team Principal agrees with Vasseur on a certain level but also agrees with Seidl’s views.

He commented, “I tend to agree with Fred, in an ideal world, the rules are pretty clear. The difficulty is policing. So, if the policing of the rules is impossible, then I think we should change the rules that are able to be policed such that the playing field is even. So I think there’s more discussion to be had with the FIA, and perhaps a bit of reform on the rules such that they can be policed.”

Haas wraps it up

Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner assured the press that the FIA is not bothered by their relationship with Ferrari. They are in line with the regulations and so does not care what other teams think.

Asked about Seidl’s comments, Steiner responded, “Yeah, Andreas doesn’t run the FIA, fortunately. So he can suggest it, but there is a governance in place, which will define that.

“There are sometimes things in the rules that if they don’t work for you, you cannot go and change it. Mercedes was winning the world championship eight years in a row, they had a very strong engine, and good for them, they did a good job. But nobody said, ‘Oh, we now need to change the engine rule because Mercedes is winning everything.’

“There is governance in place. And if certain people think they can change everything by just speaking, I don’t think that is going to happen.”

This is not a new story for Haas. Back in 2018, Fernando Alonso claimed that the VF-18 was a “Ferrari replica”. Meanwhile, Force India said that it was “magic”.

This was after teams argued that the aerodynamic parts were taken from the 2017 Ferrari. Steiner shut down rumours saying that all the parts were “developed by us” and no one from the regulating body approached them about the legality.

The 2018 Haas compared to the 2017 Ferrari

Image Credit: Sky Sports

Red Bull and AlphaTauri

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner surprisingly had nothing to say about Haas’ and Ferrari’s relationship.

One can argue that not all team relationships come from buying parts and engines. Red Bull and Alpha Tauri are two teams that have had an ongoing relationship in Formula One.

Alpha Tauri is known as Red Bull’s sister team. It is rarely questioned how fair is it for Red Bull to have a team to help grow its drivers in Formula One?

The likes of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda are with AlphaTauri with the aim to take the Red Bull seat. If Red Bull seem to think that one of their current drivers does not fit the seat, they can easily swap with AlphaTauri’s drivers.

But is this fair on other sides who do not have “sister teams” to replace drivers with? Is this fair on the drivers in Formula Two who are in the Ferrari or Alpine academy or any other, waiting to get a seat in Formula One?

Does this sort of relationship need to be looked at too?

Head Image Credit: First Sportz

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