The re-born Force India team’s immediate warm welcome back to Formula One as a new entrant has left American-owned rivals Haas seeking an explanation for possible preferential treatment.
The Haas team had to wait two years before they became eligible for prize money, having entered the sport in 2016, and team boss Gunther Steiner on Sunday expressed concerns that the ‘Racing Point’ Force India team, under new ownership, had been granted that privilege immediately.
Speaking after meetings with the sport’s senior management ahead of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix and in the wake of the Silverstone-based outfit’s stunning qualifying success on Saturday, when they locked out the second row of the grid, Steiner said he still felt a need to understand all that had happened so quickly.
"We need to understand properly why," he said. "It's not a frustration, it's an understanding. I don't think we are frustrated, it's just like, before you do business, we want to understand why it is done -- and how it is done."
Steiner held talks with Formula One chairman Chase Carey and managing director Ross Brawn before meeting new Force India owner Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
Formula One teams are normally expected to finish in the top ten of the Constructors’ Championship for two seasons before they qualify for commercial rights’ prize money.
Steiner told Autosport (www.autosport.com) that he was not reassured following his meetings.
"No - we just talked it through, but no conclusion," he said.
"Fair play to Lawrence -- and I respect him -- he puts his money where his mouth is, bought the team, he did a great job.
"But everything happened so quick, it was like ‘boom, boom, boom,’ and all of a sudden ‘let's get them to the grid'.
"We have no problem with that, but then let’s figure out the legal stuff. We are not in a hurry….”
The Force India drivers Frenchman Esteban Ocon and Mexican Sergio Perez will line up third and fourth after well-timed laps on a drying track after rain.
Championship leader and defending champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes will start from a record fifth pole position in Belgium with nearest rival Sebastian Vettel, who trails him by 24 points, second for Ferrari.