Fingers are being pointed at Haas’ surprisingly fast 2018 car in Melbourne. Others are less surprised that the small American team looks set to be ‘best of the rest’ behind the top three outfits this year.
“Not particularly (surprised),” Fernando Alonso said in Melbourne.
“Their car is a clone of last year’s Ferrari.”
More annoyed are figures at Force India, who with a similar budget design almost every part of their car.
“We follow our philosophy and work within our budget,” said technical boss Andy Green. “Other teams get parts and then pursue the philosophy of their suppliers.”
And Haas is undoubtedly the most extreme example in pitlane of a team that buys almost all of its parts from a supplier.
“The bodywork looks like the Ferrari of the end of 2017,” said Renault’s Nick Chester.
Force India sporting boss Otmar Szafnauer continues: “If you compare Haas with a ‘normal’ new team like Caterham, they had good resources and had good people and then didn’t score a single point.
“Meanwhile Haas is at about the same level as us and this year may be ahead. But I recall that their pace of development slow down during the year — maybe because Ferrari start to focus on their own problems. I don’t know,” he said.
Szafnauer said he would support moves to revisit the rules in order to clamp down on the sort of approach Haas has.
“At the moment only the issue of limiting budgets is discussed, but I think it’s also worth looking at how Haas goes about things.
“If there are no controls, it will end up like Indycar where one company makes the best cars and everyone buys from them. But formula one should not be like that.
“I’m not saying Indycar is bad, it’s just a completely different series,” he added.