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Renault protest shows midfield intensity, says Steiner

Romain Grosjean’s Italian Grand Prix disqualification is all part of the midfield’s ‘tense’ battle according to Haas.

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Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner talks to media during the Italian Grand Prix weekend (Image courtesy of Haas F1 Team).

Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner says Formula 1’s infamous midfield battle is “tense” as a hearing for Renault’s technical protest against Haas approaches.

With just six rounds left in the 2018 Formula 1 season, Renault sits fourth with 91 points, closely trailed by Haas with 76 and McLaren on 58.

A total of 33 points separate the three teams, whereas Lewis Hamilton singlehandedly leads the World Championship by 40 points.  

“It’s very tense,” Steiner said in a statement ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

Romain Grosjean leaves his Haas pit-box during the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix (Image courtesy of Haas F1 Team).

Earlier in September, at the Italian Grand Prix, Haas driver Romain Grosjean finished sixth but was later disqualified after Renault laid a protest on technical grounds. 

“Renault filed a protest against us to take some points away,” Steiner said.

Haas would’ve overtaken Renault for fourth in the Constructors Championship if Grosjean wasn’t disqualified in Italy.

“That gives you a good indication of how tense the battle is,” Steiner said, “the other teams are trying to get as many points as possible.”

The FIA agreed a reference plane on the floor of Grosjean’s Haas was not in compliance with a Technical Directive that came into force for the Italian Grand Prix weekend.

The directive was first issued to the teams in July.

Romain Grosjean during the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, a race he would later be disqualified from (Image courtesy of Haas F1 Team).

Steiner earlier told Autosport Renault’s protest was motivated by their desire to finish fourth in the Constructors Championship.

“Renault is in a position where they got overtaken for fourth position, and I think that triggered ‘we need to do something, or we finish fifth’,” Steiner immediately said after the FIA’s decision.

Following Steiner’s comments, Renault’s executive director Marcin Budkowski told Autosport his team “were not happy” racing against an illegal car. 

“We were expecting like everybody else that they would come with a floor that complies with the technical regulations in Monza,” Budkowski said, adding he was “surprised” Haas didn’t bring an update. 

Renault are fourth in the Constructors World Championship (Image courtesy of Renault Sport).

“It’s as simple as that,” he said. 

Budkowski confirmed to Autosport that Renault wishes to be heard as an interested party at the hearing.

The Haas case will be held before the FIA’s International Court of Appeal on November 1st in Paris. 

Steven Walton is an 18-year-old Journalism Student at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. He previously attended St Andrew's College in Christchurch, where he excelled at History and Classical Studies. Steven is the Editor-in-Chief at Green Flag F1 and spends most of his days living, breathing, and immersing in the Formula 1 world.

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