Abu Dhabi: The argument by Haas F1 Team that Racing Point Force India F1 are not eligible to an entry into the world championship has been rejected by the FIA.
The decision was conveyed late on Saturday through a hearing consisting of top officials from both teams in a teleconference with Pierre Ketterer, FIA Head of Governance, Integrity and Regulatory Affairs and the F1 Stewards.
Haas had claimed that Force India — which collapsed in July following the legal and financial difficulties surrounding former co-owners Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy — was bought by a new owner Lawrence Stroll.
Haas contended that the new team was not a constructor.
This meant it was impossible to complete a sale in time for Force India to race at the Belgium Grand Prix following the summer break. So the old team folded up and Stroll bought the assets while the FIA granted them an entry as a new team.
The buyout was expected to help Force India to utilise their resources and subsequently their performance in a much better way.
The move will also give Lance Stroll, son of the new owner, a better chance at securing a podium finish in F1 following his move to the new team next season from Williams.
At the end of a lengthy meeting, the FIA stewards ruled that Force India had not broken rules that forbid teams from using parts designed by other competitors because the old entity could not be considered a competitor, as it had ceased to exist.
They also said there was no restriction in the rules on using parts from a former or excluded team.
Even though the request from Haas has been rejected, the decision could have financial consequences because it now confirms that Force India is a new team.
If Force India is reclassified by F1, they would lose more than $30m (Dh110 million) of prize money next year, and Haas could potentially gain $60 million which they were not previously entitled to. Haas are yet to comment whether the team will take the process any further.
One of the persons aware of the entire situation informed Gulf News that the jury had taken a “holistic and structured” view of the protest while listening to both sides. As per Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Article 9.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, Haas can appeal the decision within the applicable time limits. “Eventually, Haas has the right to appeal the decision, and we expect the team to do in the near future,” he said.
Time and again Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer has said financial issues have slowed down the progress of new parts for the team, making it difficult to progress in the development race.