The stewards at Abu Dhabi say that a decision regarding Haas' protest against Force India will be delivered at a time "any earlier than just prior to Free Practice 3.” Haas launched the protest on Thursday night, unhappy with the situation regarding prize money.
Force India has received 'column one' prize money, despite the fact they are now recognised as a new constructor following its takeover during the summer break. Haas was ineligible for the same payment in 2016 and 2017, as they were its first years in the series.
Haas is more than likely targeting the same prize money that Racing Point Force India receive, or will look to stop the Silverstone squad from getting paid and having the money distributed evenly among the other nine constructors.
"A substantial amount of written evidence was submitted and each party made extensive verbal representation,” the stewards said in a statement on Friday. “The stewards are deliberating on the matter. It is anticipated that a decision will not be handed down any earlier that just prior to Free Practice 3.”
Speaking in the FIA press conference in between the two Friday practice sessions, Force India team principal admitted that the team wasn't expecting the protest from the American squad.
“We weren’t expecting it really, it was a bit of a surprise,” he said on Friday afternoon. "In a way it’s good that all the information can now be presented to the stewards and I think in due course they’ll make a very informed decision.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing