Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has taken full responsibility for his team’s decision to “copy” Ferrari’s design with its updated car in Hungary. The ruling body, the FIA, has deemed the Haas update as ‘OK’ despite Haas and Ferrari sharing office space in Maranello along with the team boss’s admission.
The Haas team waited until the thirteenth race of the 2022 season to introduce a package of new features to its car, and the updated VF22 looks like the Ferrari F1-75 to say the least. Indeed, the updated Haas features a number of developments similar to those of Ferrari’s F1-75 and Steiner says that the partnership with the Italian team – which supplies him with engine, gearbox, suspension and other components – meant that it made perfect sense to copy his partner’s design rather than try to build on an unknown concept.
“Is there something wrong with this? There are three concepts – the Ferrari concept, the Red Bull concept and the Mercedes concept. We are the closest to Ferrari, so we will obviously look at what Ferrari has done and copy,
“But it took a little bit of time, because they had to launch their car and do some racing, and then we had to go to the wind tunnel and do some testing looking at this car,” Steiner explained during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
“So if we have the same concept of Ferrari, we are not going to copy the Williams; obviously you copy something that is similar. Therefore, it takes a little bit of time because you want to see what others are doing, what works and what doesn’t.”
“We’ve taken a bit of time ourselves, because I think we’re in a good position in relation to where we wanted to be. We didn’t expect to be this strong at the beginning of the season, so we tried to gain as much as we could [with the new package] and tried to go in the right direction. But going to the wind tunnel and developing, that takes time.”
The Haas team principal says he is not worried that another team on the grid will decide to make a claim for copying Ferrari:
“If someone says we are copying, I would give the same answer: what would we gain by copying Williams? No disrespect to Williams, but it’s a totally different concept and they are behind us [in the championship]. If you copy something, you copy the best and at the moment that is Red Bull and Ferrari.”
“On our car we have the same engine as Ferrari, the same gearbox, the same suspension, so why should we copy anything else? They [Ferrari] win races. One and one is always two, and we are not that stupid.”
The Haas car has been deemed compliant by the FIA, and for that reason no team on the grid has attempted to lodge a ‘copycat’ complaint, as was the case earlier this season with the updated Aston Martin AMR22, which bore a strong resemblance to Red Bull’s RB18 design.
Despite the similarities, the Silverstone-based team’s car was deemed compliant by the FIA, which found that Aston Martin had not ‘reverse engineered’ the car by using photographs or technical data from the Red Bull car, which is strictly forbidden under F1 technical regulations.
For its part, Red Bull has “acknowledged” the ruling, but has decided to launch an internal investigation, not least because the Milton Keynes-based team suspects that one of its former employees may have provided confidential information to Aston Martin, despite the fact that Aston Martin has recruited some big names over the winter, including former Red Bull aerodynamics chief Dan Fallows.
The situation at Haas is a little different as the American team has signed a partnership with Ferrari and their relationship goes even further as Haas now has offices within the Ferrari factory in Maranello: a design office headed by Simone Resta, Ferrari’s head of chassis engineering.
After the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Haas team is seventh in the constructors’ world championship with 34 points scored since the beginning of the year, seven more than the AlphaTauri team and 17 less than Alfa Romeo, with nine races still to go.