Next week, the Formula 1 grid will head to Sin City for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. It will be the first of three races in the United States this season, a new F1 record.
However, one team is still fighting the results of the last race on American soil, the United States Grand Prix, which took place at the end of October.
Haas, the lone F1 team with American ties, has exercised a “right of review” regarding the results at the United States Grand Prix. Under Article 14 of the FIA International Sporting Code:
If, in Competitions forming part of an FIA Championship, cup, trophy, challenge or series, or of an international series, a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned, the stewards who have given a ruling or, failing this, those designated by the FIA, may decide to re-examine their decision following a petition for review by: either one of the parties concerned and/or a party that is directly affected by the decision handed down, or – the Secretary General for Sport of the FIA.
The allegations? Haas contends that a number of drivers should have been cite for “exceeding track limits” at the United States Grand Prix. This has been a theme throughout the 2023 F1 season, most notably at the Austrian Grand Prix.
As outlined here, when drivers stray too far off the track during a race, they will be given a warning for “exceeding track limits.” If a driver does this too many times in the course of a race, they may be given penalties, starting with a five-second penalty and increasing to a ten-second penalty for subsequent violations.
What is notable about the request from Haas is that following the United States Grand Prix, many drivers admitted that they probably had exceeded track limits a few different times, and race stewards did not catch them.
One such driver? Alexander Albon from Williams. He was given a five-second penalty during the race for exceeding track limits, but onboard footage showed that he might have committed a few more violations, which would has opened the door to an additional penalty.
Most of those offenses occurred at Turn 6 at the Circuit of the Americas, where race stewards admitted they did not have a clear enough view based on the footage available to them to make such a determination.
”Based on the video footage available (which did not include CCTV), the Stewards determine, whilst there might be some indication for possible track limit infringements in Turn 6, the evidence at hand is not sufficient to accurately and consistently conclude that any breaches occurred and therefore take no further action,” read the report from the stewards.
However, Haas is not satisfied, and under their petition for right of review it is believed the team has “submitted detailed onboard images, from both the cars involved and those following them, to highlight alleged multiple rules breaches.”
In response, the FIA has summoned three teams — Red Bull, Aston Martin, and Williams — to a hearing on Wednesday to begin the process. Under FIA regulations, this will be a two-step process. First, race officials will determine 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 race officials stewards determine that such evidence or element exists, a second part of the hearing will be convened at a later date to determine the appropriate next steps.
Why might this matter? Well, from Haas’ perspective, it matters a great deal. After all, Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg finished in 11th place at the United States Grand Prix, after the double disqualification handed down to Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.
That double DQ pushed the Williams pair of Albon and Logan Sargeant into P9 and P10, respectively.
Hülkenberg finished a little over three seconds behind Albon. But another five-second penalty — or longer — would see Hülkenberg climb into the points.