Romain Grosjean has hit out at critics calling Haas the Ferrari B team and feels it undermines the work of the US team in Formula 1.

Haas endured a nightmare 2018 F1 opener in Australia with a double pit stop mistake which retired both cars due to cross-threaded wheels for Grosjean and teammate Kevin Magnussen while both had been running inside the top five.

Despite the heartache of the Australian race results, Haas has been tipped to be strong midfield contenders against Renault and McLaren in just its third year in F1.

But the Haas team has come under fire for its close technical links to Ferrari which goes beyond its partnership as power unit supplier. Grosjean accepts Haas buys and uses key components from Ferrari like the engine, gearbox and suspension but refutes the idea of Haas being a Ferrari B team.

“It’s the same thing every time we are fast and it was the same thing last year,” Grosjean said. “We were Ferrari B. We are using the same engine, same gearbox, same suspension, everyone knows the suspension is providing a lot of the flow, so of course there’s going to be similarities.

“But we are building our own car. It’s not nice for the people that work hard and produce the Haas F1 VF-18.”

Grosjean feels the partnership between Haas and Ferrari is one which benefits F1 as a sport and while staying within the rules its efforts should be appreciated rather than criticised.

“I think the way we operate the team and the way we’ve created a partnership with Ferrari, it’s good for F1,” he said. “It shows that you can come and make things look pretty good in a short amount of time.

“Of course, if we had to do everything from zero we wouldn’t be where we are today. We’ve got the parts from Ferrari which is very important for us, so I think it’s a good thing for F1 to show that if you want to come to F1, there’s a way to do it that you can be successful early on.”

Reports have emerged that a number of F1 midfield rivals to Haas have asked the FIA to investigate into the team’s links with Ferrari and feel rules may have been breached between how closely two teams are allowed to work together.

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