FIA Formula One Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department Charlie Whiting admitted that he does not have any current concerns regarding the legality of Haas F1’s car for the 2018 championship. The VF-18 has come under attack in recent weeks after making a better than expected début in pre-season testing in Barcelona. Haas then went on to impress and perform strongly in qualifying for the season opener, the 2018 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean lined up for the race in fifth and sixth place the grid respectively, as both cars ran ahead of Red Bull in the opening laps of the Australian Grand Prix. They were still in the top ten when problems attaching new tyres during pit stops forced them out of the race.
However, their pace had been enough to draw attacks from rival teams, who accused Haas of exploiting their technical alliance with Scuderia Ferrari. The comments have been dismissed by Haas team boss Guenther Steiner. And now FIA Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting has also made it clear that he gives the rumours short shrift: “We know exactly what’s going on between Haas and Ferrari,” – the head of the F1 Technical Department explained, as reported by the British media earlier this week. “[It] is completely legal – “Last year we had one team expressing some concerns. But we have not seen anything that concerns us at the moment.” – he added.
However that has done little to assuage some of Haas’ rivals in the F1 paddock: “I don’t know how it can be right for a team who has been in the sport for a couple of years with no resources to produce a car like this,” Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer said. Teams can set up alliances to share some areas of technology, but aerodynamic elements have to be their own and Szafnauer says he doesn’t understand how Haas have managed to make such big advances in this area over the winter: “Red Bull have over 800 people,” argued Szafnauer. “A wonderful wind tunnel. A great aerodynamicists. One of the best technical directors who is a top aerodynamicist. Haas has a quarter of the people. No big aerodynamicists, no wind tunnel, no Adrian Newey. But they are faster. How does that happen? Does it happen by magic? If it does I want the wand!” – Force India’s chief operating officer said.
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