Team principal Gunther Steiner has vehemently denied that the 2018 Haas car is a clone of last year’s Ferrari, insisting the competitiveness of their challenger is ‘credit to our team’.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso labelled the VF-18 as a “Ferrari replica” while Force India technical chief Otmar Szafnauer described the car’s development on last year as “magic”.
The Banbury-based side raised some eyebrows during testing and impressed again in the Formula 1 season opener in Australia last month, before a double retirement blew the American owned team’s hopes of a remarkable 22 points.
But Steiner, speaking ahead of Sunday’s Bahrain GP, is adamant his team are playing by the rules.
He said: “I’m more than confident we are not doing anything wrong.
“I’m perfectly fine with how we do 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.
“We are well above board, and happy to be where we are.”
However, there are murmurs among the teams questioning how Haas, whose car has a striking resemblance to Ferrari’s racer last year, could develop such a car in only their third year.
“Everybody is allowed to have an opinion. Some people have an opinion, which I think is based on no facts,” Steiner added.
“It does not have a lot of value to me.
“I think the whole of Haas F1 team can be proud of the work done between last year and over the winter to produce the VF-18 and get it into its competitive condition. It’s merit to them. They can be proud.”
Meanwhile, driver Romain Grosjean has been praised after being pictured consoling the mechanic that messed up his pit stop in Melbourne.
The Frenchman said: “Everything is pushed to its maximum – the driving, the engineering and the pit stops. Mistakes can happen. We’re a team, and I was happy to be there for my boys, as I know they’re happy to be there for me when I need them to be.”