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Formula 1 United States Grand Prix 2023

Why the Haas protest against Red Bull and the rest is virtually hopeless

Haas is still protesting the outcome of the race in the United States two weeks after the fact. Why? And why so late? What FIA problem does this secretly expose and what is the chance of success of this protest?

Perez US
To news overview © XPBimages

Two weeks after the United States GP, news broke out during the race weekend in Brazil that Haas is going to protest the result. One has filed a Right of Review. Why can Haas do this so long after the race and what does the process entail? Does it have a chance of success? We take a dive here.

Why is Haas going to protest

Haas wants the United States GP to be reviewed. Drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen finished in P11 and P14, just outside the points. During the race weekend, there was much to do about the track limits at the Circuit of the Americas. For example, Max Verstappen's pole lap was taken away and therefore he had to start the race from P6.

On Saturday, the track limits were adjusted a bit after qualifying. The lines in some corners were made thicker so that the drivers had a better reference point from their cockpit. This improved the situation somewhat. The eight lap times deleted in Friday's qualifying, were followed by one violation in the Sprint Shootout on Saturday.

In the Sprint and main race, however, the F1 drivers cheerfully continued where they left off in qualifying on Friday. In the Sprint, there were 17 track limit violations, while in the main race, there were a whopping 35. But according to Haas, those weren't enough.

In Sunday's race, the deleted lap times related to track limit violations in turns 1, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20. On Sunday, the FIA did not mention which turn was which violation, while they did on Saturday during the sprint.

So now Haas has requested a Right of Review. The protest does not make clear which drivers are involved, but it is thought to involve at least Perez, Albon and Stroll.

In particular, it is about Turn 6. This corner was monitored by the FIA, but Albon was not given a penalty two weeks ago after an investigation. "The stewards determine that - although there is an indication that track limits may have been violated at Turn 6 - the available evidence is not enough to accurately and consistently conclude that violations occurred," the verdict was two weeks ago.

The verdict was two weeks ago.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Right of Review

Haas has thus requested a Right of Review. That can still be done, within two weeks of the outcome of a race. This is because the FIA has included in its International Sporting Code that teams are entitled to a Right of Review. In other words, the team has the right to have the situation reviewed. However, there are some conditions attached to that, as the situation must change from two weeks ago.

For Haas to successfully use its Right of Review, it will have to come up with new evidence, according to Article 14.1.1 of the International Sporting Code of the global motorsport federation. "If a significant and relevant new element is discovered in an FIA championship that was not known to the parties at the time of the initial decision, then the stewards may be able to re-examine their decision."

"In that case, the stewards must meet (in person or online) on a date to be determined together, must summon the party or parties concerned to come and explain and must make a judgment based on the new elements," the motorsports federation document said.

So the question is whether Haas can come up with new, previously unseen and, moreover, significant evidence. In the original ruling, the stewards mention that they had looked at all "available footage," "but not the CCTV footage. It is possible that Haas is still trying to convince the stewards with that CCTV footage.

A new camera angle, which the stewards might not yet have seen, is not necessarily significant evidence, however. The stewards decide if the evidence is relevant when making an application, and once they have decided on it, it cannot be appealed.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Chance of success small

In recent years, Right of Reviews have been requested several times by different teams: Ferrari did in 2019 when Sebastian Vettel received a penalty for running off the track in Canada while battling Lewis Hamilton and 'coming back in a dangerous manner', according to the stewards. He lost the win due to a five-second penalty.

In 2021 Red Bull requested a Right of Review after the Great Britain GP after Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided at Copse. The Briton received a 10-second penalty but still won the race, and Red Bull wanted to see a heavier penalty afterwards. As "new" evidence, they even had Alex Albon mimic Verstappen's lines at Silverstone during a 'filming day' to show that Hamilton could have done things differently.

Later that year, Mercedes did the same thing the other way around. In Brazil, Verstappen and Hamilton fought another heated battle, with the Dutchman balancing on the edge of the permissible with his actions on the track. He did not receive a penalty during the race, but Silver Arrows Team Principal Toto Wolff and his team hoped to change that after the race.

Last year Haas, also in the U.S., requested a Right of Review because Alonso allegedly drove around with an unsafe Alpine after his particular clash with Lance Stroll. Earlier this year, Ferrari wanted the results of the Australian Grand changed after a late Safety Car following a red flag restart caused a five-second penalty for Sainz to hurt him badly.

What do all of the above have in common? They were each dismissed. In some cases, it was ruled that new evidence had indeed surfaced, but significantly the evidence was not found. That that will happen this time seems highly unlikely.

The protest especially exposes a major problem that the FIA needs to start solving: track limits. It is unacceptable that two weeks after a race there is still uncertainty about a race because someone has or has not driven just outside the lines.

F1 2023 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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