Steiner says Haas is seeking “equal treatment” with its Force India protest | 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says it has brought a protest against Force India to ensure it receives “equal” treatment with its rival team.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stewards are expected to rule tomorrow on the protest. While the detail of Haas’s complaint hasn’t been disclosed, Steiner said in response to a question from RaceFans they are “seeking equality for all the teams.”

RaceFans understands Haas is querying whether Racing Point Force India, which was admitted to the championship as a new constructor at mid-season having taken over Sahara Force India, holds the necessary intellectual property to their car’s design. The question puts Force India’s claim to a share of F1’s prize money into jeopardy.

Haas entered F1 in 2016. As a new constructor it was not entitled to a share of F1’s ‘column one’ prize money during its first two seasons.

“We came into Formula 1 under certain circumstances,” Steiner explained when asked by RaceFans. “We were aware of what we had to do. We did it all. And we feel that this was not done this time with Force India.

“So that is we are just seeking equality or at least an explanation why it isn’t done.”

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The two teams have been at odds over the prize money matter since Force India was brought out of administration ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix. Steiner admitted they chose to protest at the final round of the championship as a last resort having not received responses from Formula One Management or the FIA.

“We tried to mediate and find an amicable solution but we didn’t get either a good or bad answer, we didn’t get any answer,” he said. “At a certain point you need to do what you need to do.”

“The problem is maybe bigger than Force India,” he added. “We are just seeking that everybody is treated equally. That is the only thing we are seeking.

“We are not trying to get more, we are just trying that everybody which is in this position also in the future knows what they are going to do.”

Asked whether Haas is seeking to receive extra prize money for its 2016 and 2017 participation, or a reduction in Force India’s earnings for this season, Steiner said the team is prepared to accept either.

“That’s not my decision,” he said. “As long as we get the same share I cam fine with it. Where they take it, I don’t care. That is FOM’s problem, not mine.”

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