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Guenther Steiner

Haas and McLaren at odds over controversial F1 rule

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner is "beyond frustrated" about the topic of shared knowledge and personnel transfer between outfits that are politically aligned.

Magnussen Australia
Article
To news overview © XPB

Guenther Steiner says he is now very used to the topic of knowledge and personnel transfer between teams in F1, given that Haas have made prodigious use of the contentious rules.

Technically, Haas aren't a constructor in their own right, as their chassis is built by Italian company Dallara, while their engine and gearbox is supplied by Ferrari.

However, in light of the tightening budget cap for 2022, there's been some quite significant personnel transfer between Ferrari and Haas, with staff leaving the downsizing Scuderia to bolster the smaller Haas team.

Haas have also established a design office at Ferrari's headquarters at Maranello, with the Italian team's former chief designer, Simone Resta, overseeing the creation and development of the 2022-spec Haas.

With the VF-22 a clear step forward from Haas' troubled cars of the past two seasons, the topic of transferable components, shared resources (such as wind tunnels), and personnel moving between two teams who are in a supplier/customer arrangement has come up again.

Haas team boss Steiner has explained that he doesn't even get annoyed by the talk anymore, as it's a topic that has come up so frequently.

"It's not even frustrating. It's just like, 'Again?'" he told media, including RacingNews365.com, in Australia.

"I don't get frustrated anymore. You get used to it, so it's normal."

McLaren take aim at the situation

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl spoke at length about the topic in Melbourne, outlining the Woking-based team's position.

With McLaren, as a full-blooded constructor (albeit a Mercedes engine customer), struggling to match and beat the performances seen from Haas so far in 2022, Seidl said his team are against the rules allowing such transfer.

"I want to make it crystal clear that our view is not depending on our current sporting situation, or the sporting situation of a team like Haas, for example," he commented.

"It's a matter of principle for us for many, many years, and it's clear for us that Formula 1 should be a championship of 10 constructors, or 11/12, which means there should be no transfer happening of any IP (intellectual property) which is related to car performance.

"For us, it's clear the maximum that should be allowed to be shared is the power units and the gearbox internals. That's it. There should be no sharing of any infrastructure and so on because, as soon as you allow that, IP transfer is happening on the car side."

Seidl went on to call for a ban on such scenarios.

"We know from the FIA that it is difficult to police," he added.

"If something is not possible to police, you need to ban it. For two reasons, because it makes 'B' teams overly competitive compared to teams like us. And, at the same time, there's the 'A' team also benefitting from this, which is even more worrying for us.

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

Steiner responds to Seidl's position

Unsurprisingly, Steiner didn't put much stock in Seidl's comments, saying it would be unfair to change the rules based on one team managing to find a way forward because of such transfers being permitted.

"Andreas doesn't run the FIA, fortunately, so he can suggest it but there is a governance in place which will define that, as much as he wants to run it," Steiner explained.

"For sure, today, he's happy, and then there are sometimes things in the rules that if they don't work for you, you cannot go and change it.

"I mean, 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, 'We now need to change the engine rules because Mercedes is winning everything'.

"There's governance in place and when certain people think they can change everything by just speaking, I don't think that is going to happen."

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