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Teams question Haas/Ferrari ties


A number of teams are questioning the close association between Haas and Ferrari, with Toto Wolff one of several team bosses calling for the regulations to be tightened.

After a couple of seasons in the wilderness, Haas has bounced back in style this year. Having posted the second fastest time in pre-season testing, the American outfit finished fifth in Bahrain, while Kevin Magnussen has made it into Q3 on two occasions and Mick Schumacher into Q2 at all three events.

From the outset, Haas has enjoyed a close relationship with Ferrari, indeed its business model was based on the partnership, but with the American team having installed a 'hub' at Maranello, and now looking to be a regular feature in the midfield, rivals are worried.

While teams are allowed to share information - look no further than Red Bull and AlphaTauri or Mercedes and Aston Martin (nee tRacing Point) a number now feel that the regulations need to be tightened.

"Haas has made a huge jump from being last, the way they were into being... having been solid and into Q3, I think, in Bahrain," said Toto Wolff. "So that's an interesting step.

"For us, it's a learning exercise, because as an organisation, we have 2000 people and we've been successful in the past, and suddenly you're fighting a team that's much smaller in size. So, they must have done a super job," he added.

Asked if he feels the regulations need changing, the Austrian replied: "I think it needs reform, because we want to avoid these kinds of discussions that we have now, the polemic around the last few days or last few weeks, everybody deserves to perform well, and people should get credit when they've done a good job.

"But some of the job-hopping or entity-hopping on the same premises is just creating arguments that are not necessary for the sport," he continued. "So definitely for us, you know, we have Aston Martin in the wind tunnel that we had two years ago. Quite a shitstorm about that. We have been handling them with the utmost diligence.

"Going forward, if we were to need to compromise our, let's say, income ability, we need to do this, because none of the teams should be able to cooperate in a way that we're seeing today, with some of the teams."

"I'm not sure that we have to change the regulation," added Fred Vasseur, whose Alfa team, like Haas, has close ties with Ferrari, "it's exactly the same story on the financial one also that we have to apply the rule. And the rule is strict enough to make it fair that at the end of the day, that the financial regulation, a good example, you just have to stick to the rule.

"If you stick to the rule, it's more than OK," he added. "And it's why I think that we are trusting the FIA, because they have to do the job of the regulator and they are doing it, they are on it. And for me, it's OK like this."

"In an ideal world, the rules are pretty clear," said Otmar Szafnauer, now at Alpine though previously with Aston Martin and tRacing Point. "And the difficulty is policing. So if the policing of the rules is impossible, then I think we should change the rules that are able to be policed such that the playing field is even.

"So I think there's more discussion to be had with the FIA, and perhaps a bit of reform on the rules such that they can be policed."

"Our view is not depending on our current sporting situation, or the sporting situation of a team like us, for example," said Andreas Seidl, whose boss at McLaren, Zak Brown, has long argued against the use of 'B-Teams'.

"It's a matter of principle for us since many, many years. And it's clear for us that Formula 1 should be a championship of 10 constructors, or 11 or 12, which means there should be no transfer happening of any IP which is related to core performance.

"For us, it's clear Formula 1... the maximum that should be allowed to share 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 and we know also from FIA, it's difficult to police and if something is not possible to police, you need to ban it.

"And for two reasons: because it makes B teams overly competitive compared to teams like us and at the same time, there's the A teams also benefiting from this which is even more worrying for us. And we just hope with all the dialogue which is happening also with F1, with the FIA between several teams also, that we finally see some action in the next years in order to correct this situation."

"We have a regulation and this regulation is quite good," argued Franz Tost. "If the FIA controls everything, and this is what they do, I don't think it's necessary to make a regulation change.

"For me, it's a good way to work together with another team because we did it in the past, for example, to design our own gearbox. We had our own wind tunnel and for me, this is a waste of money. If you can work together with another team to use these synergies and to go into the direction that every team has now has to have his own wind tunnel, in my eyes, it's absolutely a waste of money, and also not balanced with the sustainability. Because we must also think into this direction.

"A wind tunnel needs a lot of energy, just for a limited number of hours you are allowed to be in there. I can only talk now from Scuderia Alpha Tauri side. We respect to 100% the rules. We share a wind tunnel with Red Bull Technology but there is absolutely no exchange from technique information. Nothing. We are there three days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and other days Red Bull Racing is in there. And that's it. We respect the rules. And if someone thinks that is not the case, then they should send us the FIA, no problem, we can prove that we respect everything."

"As you heard from Franz, we are effectively his landlord," said Christian Horner, "and he gets all the preferable days for his wind tunnel testing, but I think it makes logical sense with a wind tunnel to share the asset.

"I think many... you know, pretty much every team on the grid does that now and I think it's a very tricky one because when you look at personnel, I mean, the big teams have had to downsize, so in our own team, we've probably had to, unfortunately, say goodbye to close to 100 people in order to meet the budget cap and of course, what the FIA don't have the ability to do is to tell where somebody should or shouldn't work. You end up in all kinds of employment issues and tribunals with that. So it would only be natural as we have to say goodbye to some very long serving staff within the group to, for example, mention to Franz that there's some technical staff that we're going to have to say goodbye to; would you be interested so, inevitably that has happened and I think the teams have had to readjust and rescale, to cut their cloth to suit the budget cap scenario.

"Now, what doesn't happen in that scenario is the transfer of any IP which would obviously be a total breach of the regulations. Now that happens whether engineers, technicians moved from team to any team in the pit line. They can only take what with them what they have in their head, not on a on a piece of paper or any physical data or IP. So it's a tricky one, obviously for the FIA to police, but I think that the balance that we have is actually reasonably sensible.

"I think the question that Franz raised about the pertinence of wind tunnels longer term, we've raised, that we've discussed that and unfortunately, that's been rejected, that the feeling is that tunnels are part of the future of Formula 1 whereas personally, I would have liked to see more of an emphasis go on to CFD and some of the emerging simulation tools that we see very much the future but no issues with the current regulations, certainly regarding personnel."

Responding to Andreas Seidl's suggestion that only the gearbox internals and power unit be shared, Guenther Steiner was as pithy as ever.

"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.

"There's sometimes things in the rules that if they don't work for you, you cannot go and change it," he added. "Mercedes won the world championship eight years in a row, they had a very strong engine... good for them they did a good job, but nobody said ‘we now need to change the engine because Mercedes is winning everything'.

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


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1. Posted by Defiant, 20/04/2022 22:16

"Although I agree with Seidl here and teams should do just about everything themselves, I feel Toto's memory is a little short here and may just be a little butt hurt that some other team (ie. the less than honest guys in red) did a better job than Merc this year.
I remember he was fine when people where making accusations about Racing Point being a used Merc... hmmm

Moving goal posts me thinks.....


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2. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 20/04/2022 12:50

"Funny reading McLaren talking about there shouldn't be any stealing of IP. They're the ones who committed the biggest theft of IP in sporting history."

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3. Posted by stackvideo, 19/04/2022 23:07

"From memory I believe Gian Carlo Minardi Said back in the early 80's that Mclaren were once a bottom team."

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4. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 19/04/2022 19:03

"Formula 1 is a prototype series, probably the last single seater prototype series left and as such all the teams know the score when they enter the sport each year.
I like Seidl's approach because, like me, it is simple and I can understand it.
Williams and McLaren have a history of sticking to that principle of each team building its own car even though that approach lately has hampered Williams in particular.
A key attraction for a lot of people that watch F1 is what we've seen with the regulation change this year: the same regulations but very different looking cars and different approaches.
Having the teams "sharing" too many components may well end that part of F1."

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5. Posted by Tardis40, 19/04/2022 18:14

"When you're that slow, it's easier to make progress."

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6. Posted by Spindoctor, 19/04/2022 14:25

"I've never quite understood how having "B" teams fits in with Cost & Development Caps\restrictions. I agree 100% with Seidl: PUs & gearbox internals & nothing more should be shared.
I'd also extend this to facilities such as wind tunnels - nothing against Teams hiring time from others - under very strict conditions, but explicitly forbid any kind of "sharing" of the facility."

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7. Posted by Mad Matt, 19/04/2022 12:12

"I like Gunther but "nobody said ‘we now need to change the engine because Mercedes is winning everything'.", yes they did, loudly and often :-)

It's true that some, and I think Gunther was one of them, said it's up to us to improve and catch Merc, it's not the job of the FIA to hobble them so we can catch up..... but there were many other cries, some subtle, some not so seeking to reign in the Merc advantage. Same story whenever any team has had a big advantage....


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8. Posted by Rock Doc, 19/04/2022 12:06

"Well that didn't take long did it. Small team doing well, they must be cheating in some way.

It couldn't be that HAAS dumped the 2021 season and put up with the associated misery in favour of focusing on a car for 2022. Or that Ferrari have done a better job with their engine this year. Oh and got themselves a driver that can actually race.

If it wasn't for the B-teams then we would be done to just 5 may be 6 teams on the grid. It's a bitter pill but that's the truth of it. I would personally love to see 11, 12 or more teams on the grid now in 2022 but that hasn't happened in years because the series is too expensive, even with the cost cap."

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9. Posted by kenji, 19/04/2022 11:15


i have to agree with Seidl here. "

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