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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stewards dismiss Haas protest against Force India

Haas had argued that Force India, who went into administration in July and re-emerged under new ownership in August, were in breach of the rules

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen steers his car during the second practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday. AFP
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen steers his car during the second practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday. AFP

A protest lodged by Haas Formula One team against the validity of Force India as a new constructor has been dismissed by stewards at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Haas had argued that Force India, who went into administration in July and re-emerged under new ownership in August, were in breach of the rules and the cars of Mexican Sergio Perez and Frenchman Esteban Ocon should not be allowed to race.

"The stewards decide to dismiss the protests lodged by Haas Formula One Team against car number 11 and car number 31," the officials concluded in a lengthy statement ahead of final practice for Sunday's race at Yas Marina Circuit.

Haas have a right to appeal the decision.

The American team had to go two years without so-called "column one" money after arriving in 2016 as a new entry because the rules state payments are dictated by performance over previous seasons.

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The team's principal, Guenther Steiner, told Sky Sports Haas had filed an intent to appeal and would make a decision on whether to pursue once they had examined the stewards' findings.

"In the end it's all about money," he said of the dispute. "We don't want more of the money, we just want that it is equal for everybody.

"We had to do two years [without prize money payments]. In our opinion this is a new team and therefore we asked for this to be clarified."

Saturday's ruling, while clearing Force India as a legitimate constructor, also confirmed them as a new team which could lead to further argument over their rights to millions in prize money.

"In relation to the submission by the Racing Point Force India F1 Team that it is not a new team, the stewards decide that the Racing Point Force India F1 Team is indeed a new team," the statement said.

Haas had argued in their protest that the post-rescue Force India, who started from scratch in the championship, had not built their own car because they used a design from a different company and team.

They argued that was against the definition of a constructor.

Force India had countered that using listed parts from a former team did not breach the regulations and complied with the definition of outsourcing since they were not designed for any other competitor.