F1 teams called to FIA hearing over Haas’ track limits review request

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In the aftermath of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Formula 1 finds itself in the midst of a heated debate, with three formidable teams, Red Bull, Aston Martin, and Williams, being summoned to a crucial FIA hearing scheduled for Wednesday. The subject of this high-stakes meeting is none other than Haas’s request for a right of review, particularly focusing on alleged track limit breaches during the United States Grand Prix.

During the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, Haas made a formal petition, expressing its concerns about what they perceived as numerous instances of track limit violations that went unpunished during the US Grand Prix. Their primary contention revolves around Turn 6 of the Circuit of the Americas, where several drivers, notably Sergio Perez, Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, and Lance Stroll, were accused of exceeding track limits without facing the penalties they should have received.

As outlined in the official FIA document, “The Stewards have received a petition for a Right of Review in accordance with Article 14 of the FIA International Sporting Code, from MoneyGram Haas F1 Team on 03 November 2023 in respect of the decisions of the Stewards of the 2023 United States Grand Prix, Document 59, Alleged breaches of Appendix L, Chapter IV, Article 2c) of the International Sporting Code and Article 33.3 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations in relation to Car 23 and Document 66, Final Classification.”

This contentious issue was brought into the spotlight as onboard footage from the race showed these drivers consistently straying beyond the white lines, seemingly without any interference from the FIA. While the motorsport’s governing body acknowledged the observations made by the onboard cameras in Austin, they later explained that the corner lacked the necessary CCTV cameras and monitoring equipment to accurately gauge track limit violations, making it challenging to impose sanctions.

Unsatisfied with the FIA’s response, Haas assembled a compelling case, including a range of onboard camera views, both from the drivers involved and those trailing them, to underscore the extent of the alleged track limit abuses.

Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

The FIA, recognizing the gravity of the situation, has agreed to conduct a hearing on Wednesday, summoning the other concerned teams as relevant interested parties. However, the initial decision to be made by the same stewards from the US Grand Prix is whether the evidence provided by Haas qualifies as a “significant and relevant new element,” as mandated by the FIA statutes.

As stipulated in the FIA document, “It should be noted that this Hearing will be held in two parts. The first part will be to hear evidence as to whether there is a ‘significant and relevant new element which was unavailable to the party seeking the Review at the time of the Decision concerned.’ Should the Stewards determine, in accordance with Article 14.3 of the FIA International Sporting Code, that such an element exists, a second part of the Hearing will be convened at a time to be advised.”

While the use of onboard footage is noteworthy, stewards are equipped with access to all available cameras throughout an F1 weekend, which may undermine the evidence’s novelty. Nonetheless, following their awareness of the issues at Turn 6 in the Circuit of the Americas, the FIA has pledged to enhance its monitoring infrastructure by 2024, ensuring that similar issues do not recur.

In an official statement, an FIA spokesperson stated, “The FIA will update its monitoring infrastructure to provide enhanced coverage to ensure that any potential breaches can reliably be identified during the race in the future.”