Haas’ decision to protest Force India’s entry at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has taken the Formula 1 squad by “surprise”, according to team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

Late on Thursday the FIA confirmed Haas had lodged a protest against both Racing Point Force India entries over a potential regulation breach regarding the construction of its cars.

An initial hearing on Friday morning was adjourned until after opening practice in Abu Dhabi to allow for further evidence.

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“After the protest was lodged it wasn’t a surprise at all but just before that we weren’t expecting it really,” Szafnauer said.

“So a bit of a surprise but in a way it’s good that now all the information can now be presented to the stewards.

“In due course they will make a very informed situation.”

It is understood the protest relates to the intellectual property of the Force India car, with the rebranded Racing Point Force India entry running a design built by the original Force India squad that fell into administration over the summer.

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.”

 

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