The ‘track limits’ saga has taken a dramatic twist, as Haas bids to step off the dead-last spot in the constructors’ championship. After a less than stellar performance with their new ‘B’ car, which debuted at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Haas is now gunning for a major overhaul of that race’s results – a move that could ripple through the ranks and be worth millions of dollars in Formula 1 prize money.
“We have tyre degradation and it seems like we just can’t get it under control,” shared Haas team principal Gunther Steiner after the sprint race in Brazil. Yet, it’s off the track where Haas is mounting a more formidable offensive.
The contention revolves around the oft-debated ‘track limits’. Haas claims that numerous violations went unnoticed due to insufficient camera coverage, particularly at turn 6, during the Austin race. Their own thorough investigation has led to the assembly of a detailed 28-page dossier, painstakingly detailing every potential infringement by their competitors.
Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt shed light on the potential consequences: “(Alex) Albon,” who clinched ninth place in Austin, “could be facing 15 five-second penalties.” With a similar fate hanging over other drivers like Logan Sargeant and Sergio Perez, the implications are massive. Even Lance Stroll could see his race day efforts neutralized, should Haas’ claims of 16 track limit violations against him hold up.
“If Haas’ objection is upheld, the classification would have to be completely rewritten,” noted Schmidt. A reclassification would not just shuffle positions but could pivot Haas away from the bottom of the constructors’ standings – a place no team wants to be, especially when considerable FOM prize money is at stake.
In a calculated move, Haas has invoked their ‘right of review’, placing the ball firmly in the court of the FIA’s lawyers, who have asked for a few days to delve into the dossier.