Haas Formula 1 chief Guenther Steiner believes the team’s links to Ferrari would not be questioned if it was not competitive, but has learned to live with the criticism.

Haas has enjoyed a close technical partnership with Ferrari since entering F1 in 2016, and finished fifth in last year’s constructors’ championship.

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The Haas model has been praised by some for taking advantage of F1’s rulebook that permits a certain level of purchased parts. But the team has also faced criticism from rivals who claim that it is simply a B-team to the Italian marque.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, Haas chief Steiner hit back at the critics, saying it is clear the team is doing nothing wrong.

“I don’t really care. Some of the people that say that, I don’t really know what they mean by it,” Steiner said.

“I think they don’t know what they mean with it. It’s normally the people that cannot understand why we’re doing such a good job. They just say we’re copying Ferrari.

“There are clearly written rules – what you can and can’t do – and we do everything to the rulebook. I don’t really care if they have a bad opinion about us.”

Haas said the close relationship between Ferrari and Haas has only faced scrutiny because of the team’s on-track success, fighting regularly against bigger operations such as Renault and McLaren.

“Nobody would care if we were at the bottom. Everybody would be happy,” Steiner said.

“That’s what everyone was expecting. That’s where they thought we would be when we got into Formula 1. It’s developed over the years with people getting more critical. It goes hand-in-hand with our classifications.

“After a while, you get used to it. You live with it and don’t care.”

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