LONDON (Reuters) – Haas are appealing against Romain Grosjean’s Italian Grand Prix disqualification but will not let off-track ‘gamesmanship’ distract them in Singapore next weekend, team boss Guenther Steiner has said.
Grosjean finished sixth at Monza a week ago, a result that put Haas into fourth place and ahead of Formula One rivals Renault.
The U.S.-owned team were then stripped of the points, subject to appeal, and pushed back to fifth in the constructors’ standings by stewards after Renault questioned the legality of the Frenchman’s car.
Haas said the matter was being ‘actively appealed’.
“If they cannot beat you on the track, they try to beat you in court,” said Steiner in a question-and-answer sheet issued by the team ahead of Singapore.
“That is what seems to be happening. You have to work hard to be envied. We’d rather work hard for it and fight even more,” he added.
Asked whether he felt the competition on the racetrack was spilling into “paddock gamesmanship”, he replied: Absolutely. Sometimes, you have to do that. You take any approach in racing. Is it the right thing to do? I’ll let others determine that.”
“This doesn’t distract me,” said Steiner, whose team are now in their third season and have ruffled feathers by striking a close technical partnership with Ferrari and contracting out as much as possible.
That has allowed Haas to be competitive with a far smaller staff than rival teams, like Renault, who design and build everything in-house.
“Our people know where they need to put the effort in,” said Steiner. “We don’t get distracted when we go racing. We try to always get good results in racing and leave the other stuff offline.”
The governing FIA said in a long explanation of the stewards’ ruling at Monza that Renault had argued that Grosjean’s Haas did not comply with a technical clarification issued to teams in July.
All teams had been given until Monza to comply but Haas had not done so, with Renault presenting photographic evidence to back up their case.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)