The FIA has rejected Haas’ right to review regarding the final classification of Formula 1’s 2023 United States Grand Prix.
Following a petition from Haas, the FIA had summoned representatives from Aston Martin, Red Bull and Williams to attend a virtual hearing amid claims from the American outfit that several drivers had gone unpunished for exceeding track limits in Austin.
The hearing, which began on Wednesday but was adjourned until Thursday, was also attended by representatives from McLaren and Ferrari.
Haas presented onboard video footage of Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll all leaving the circuit at Turn 6 repeatedly during the 56-lap event.
In the cases of Sargeant, Perez and Stroll, these incidents were neither noted, investigated nor penalised by the Stewards in Austin.
During the hearing, Haas’ external legal counsel, Mr Fioravanti, stated that the petition to review the FIA’s decision to not penalise Albon at COTA should be seen separately from the petition to review the final classification.
Haas provided no additional evidence during the hearing but reasserted that the team had lodged the review in the interest of consistency.
Provided Haas were able to present “a significant and relevant new element discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned,” the FIA would allow a reinvestigation of the matter.
But representatives from Aston Martin, Red Bull and Williams all argued that the evidence submitted did not constitute as being “new”.
Furthermore, that trio of teams argued that as those drivers had not been noted for the Turn 6 infringements, the correct process would be a Protest rather than a Right of Review.
Aston Martin representative Andy Stevenson stated in addition that in the absence of secondary evidence such as CCTV, onboard-footage could not be deemed new nor significant.
This was particularly the case as all teams had been repeatedly informed by the FIA that it would not judge track limits solely from on-board video due to its inherent limitations.
Despite the insistence of Fioravanti who maintained that the evidence submitted was unavailable to Haas at the time of the event, the FIA rejected each of Haas’ arguments.
The Stewards determined that all on-board evidence presented by Haas was not new, relevant or significant and that each element was already available to the team at the time.
The one exception is regarding on-board footage of Albon and cars following the Williams which the FIA accepted was significant, although not new, relevant and had also been available to Haas at the time.
“The Petition for the Right of Review is REJECTED because there is no significant and relevant new element that was unavailable to Haas at the time of the Decision,” the FIA announced on Thursday.
“The evidence available to the Stewards (both then and now) was not sufficient to accurately and consistently (meaning for every car in every lap) penalize any [track limit] breaches occurring at the apex of Turn 6.
“Track limit infringements are almost universally enforced based on principal video evidence from a fixed CCTV camera of adequate resolution positioned to clearly see a car’s position in relation to the track limit boundary.
“The CCTV camera for Turn 6 did not meet that standard as it did not cover the apex of the corner. Because onboard cameras are only useful for verifying a breach when viewing a car in front of the camera car and not the camera car itself, the Stewards believed they could not accurately and consistently conclude whether a breach occurred for every car on every lap.
“Anecdotal usage of trailing car video, which may or may not be available for any given car’s potential breach at any given time does not meet that accurate and consistent evidence standard.
“Therefore, the latitude provided to the Stewards in the Code was used to take no further action based on the lack of accurate and consistent evidence for all cars, in the interest of Sporting Fairness as stipulated in Articles 1.1.1 and 1.2.1 of the Code and delegated to the Stewards in Article 11.9.1 of the Code.”
Despite rejecting Haas’ petition, the governing body has accepted that improvements must be found to avoid a repeat of the track limits exploitation seen in Austin.
“The Stewards have seen individual pieces of evidence that show what appear to be potential track limit breaches at the apex of Turn 6.
“They find their inability to properly enforce the current standard for track limits for all competitors completely unsatisfactory and therefore strongly recommend to all concerned that a solution to prevent further reoccurrences of this widespread problem be rapidly deployed.
“Whether the problem is properly addressed by better technology solutions, track modifications, a combination thereof, or a different regulation and enforcement standard, the Stewards leave to those better positioned to make such assessments.
“However, based on the timing of this Decision, it is clear that a complete solution cannot, as a matter of practicality, happen this year.
“But given the number of different circuits where significant track limit issues arose this season, acknowledging that the FIA in conjunction with the circuits have already made significant strides, further solutions should be found before the start of the 2024 season”