After owning the third row of the grid in qualifying during the season opener in Melbourne last week, and also showing exceptional pace during the race, Haas’ performance has raised more than a few eyebrows.
The latter, after Fernando Alonso labelled the 2018 Haas car a “Ferrari replica”, told Autosport that the Haas was “something that needs to be looked at closely.”
“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.”
Meanwhile, Szafnauer went a step further in saying “I don’t know how they do it, it’s magic. It’s never been done before in Formula 1. I just don’t know how it can be right that someone who’s been in the sport for a couple of years with no resource could produce a car… does it happen by magic? If it does, I want the wand.
“Maybe it [aerodynamic surfaces] is their own, it’s just suspect – how can you gain that knowledge without history and the right tools and people?”
According to F1 regulations, passing on or receiving information on parts that are supposed to be produced by the teams themselves is strictly forbidden. Ferrari, however, supplies Haas with parts the American outfit can’t build itself and also allows Dallara, Haas’s chassis partner, to use its wind tunnel.
Haas F1 team principal, Gunther Steiner, challenged the notion that his team might be receiving more support from Ferrari that what is allowed under current F1 regulations.
“Some people have an opinion, which I think is based on no facts. It does not have a lot of value to me. We report what we are doing, like everybody else, to the FIA. That’s why I’m more than confident we are not doing anything wrong.”
Steiner then went on to say that he’s perfectly fine with the way his team does business: “We design our own aero, as per the regulations, and yes, we use mechanical parts from Ferrari, but everybody’s known that for the past two years.”
Haas is now looking to capitalize on its pace in Bahrain following its drivers’ DNFs at the Australian Grand Prix.