Haas F1 chief Guenther Steiner continued to bat off accusations that his team’s 2018 car – the VF18 – is a carbon copy of last year’s Ferrari SF70H, claiming that the complaints are a result of sour grapes from an underperforming team with a much bigger budget at their disposal.
With both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean running strongly throughout the season-opening Australian Grand Prix weekend, but particularly on race day when they were they strongly and looking good for fourth and fifth before five minutes of pitstop madness changed all that.
Nevertheless, Haas had revealed their hand with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso quick to dub their car a “Ferrari replica” which has since ignited heated debate from within the paddock and among fans.
But when interviewed by BBC Sports Steiner remained adamant, “They see ghosts.”
“[They say: The car looks very similar to a Ferrari from last year. So should we have copied their car, which is behind us, or should we go with a car that goes pretty quick? Give me an answer to that.”
“We have got the same wheelbase as Ferrari. We have to because we have the same suspension – why would we do it different? It’s logic. So it cannot be last year’s Ferrari because [our car] has the same wheelbase as this year’s Ferrari.”
“My point is, if they have got a problem with that, I show them the way to the FIA. They can file a protest,” insisted Steiner
Steiner blames teams behind them for stirring the pot, with Alonso and McLaren the ‘stirrers in chief’ who were quick to question to what extent Ferrari was ‘helping’ the American team.
But the Austrian had a dig at their accusers when he said, “If you have to justify your incompetence, attack is the best defence. If somebody has double the amount of money and is behind us, whoever owns the team should be asking: what are we doing here?”
“It’s competition. Maybe next year we are last. When you speak, you need to have an argument you can back up, not just assumptions,” concluded Steiner.