Haas has lodged a protest against Formula 1 rival Force India ahead of this weekend's season finale in Abu Dhabi over a potential regulation breach regarding the construction of its cars.

In a bulletin issued by the FIA on Thursday at the Yas Marina Circuit, the FIA confirmed Haas had lodged a protest against both Force India entries - Car 11 of Sergio Perez and Car 31 of Esteban Ocon - ahead of this weekend's race.


The investigation into the protest has been suspended until after the opening practice session in Abu Dhabi – 15:40 local time – to allow hearing for further evidence.

“The Stewards commenced their hearing of the Protest lodged by Haas F1 Team against Racing Point Force India F1 Team Cars 11 & 31 at 1100 hrs today,” an FIA statement read. “The hearing has been adjourned until 1540 hrs today to allow for the examination of additional documents submitted in evidence. It will reconvene at that time.”

While no further details have been given, it is understood it relates to the intellectual property of the Force India car, and whether there is a breach of the regulations.

While F1 constructors are allowed to outsource the design and manufacture of ‘listed parts’, they are required to “retain the exclusive right to use the Listed Parts in Formula 1 so long as it competes in Formula 1.”

The regulations add that no competitor can “pass on or receive any information on Listed Parts (including but not limited to data, designs or drawings) directly to or from another competitor or via an external entity or third party.”

Force India’s car, the VJM11, was constructed by the team in its previous guise prior to its takeover.

Haas has been one of the most vocal teams opposing plans for Force India to retain its right to a portion of F1’s ‘Column 1’ prize money following the sale of the team and its re-entry to the championship at the Belgian Grand Prix.

After being sold to a consortium following a period in administration, Sahara Force India was required to re-enter the championship as a new entry - Racing Point Force India - causing all of its pre-Belgium points to be wiped.

Despite this, the team claimed it had received approval to retain its prize money rights of the old Force India operation. New teams are required to complete two full seasons before they are eligible for a share of the ‘Column 1’ prize money that is shared equally between teams.

Haas team principal Günther Steiner would not be drawn on the matter earlier in the day, only saying they were “not making progress at the moment” in talks with F1 management.

The stewards will hear from representatives from both Haas and Force India at 11am local time in Abu Dhabi (7am GMT) on Friday.

"Prior to meeting with the FIA Stewards at 11:00 on Friday 23rd November 2018, in relation to the protest against cars 11 & 31 (FIA Document 8), Haas F1 Team will not comment further on the matter," a representative from Haas said.