Haas: We don’t want to have the USF1 stigma

Gene Haas with his entourage in Canada
Gene Haas with his entourage in Canada

Formula 1’s newest team owner Gene Haas was a high profile figure during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend as he took a look around the paddock which he will soon inhabit, and admitted that he seriously considered buying an existing team to make his foray into the sport.

Haas told Autoweek, “We did look a little bit, I would say almost a year ago, at buying a team but we ended up with a lot of complex issues that had to be resolved and, generally speaking, you end up spending more money than starting with a clean sheet so we really think this a better way to do it. The compromise is that I think it takes a bit longer to do it.”

However with Lotus’perpetual financial hassles and amid reports that Caterham boss Tony Fernandes is keen to unload his back-marker team, reports have surfaced that Haas might be reconsidering his plans.

But a team spokesperson denied this, “Gene remains committed to building an American-based Formula One team and his plans have not changed.”

Guenther Steiner who has been hired to run the team said in Montreal, “We are going back and forth with contracts right now with the engine partner. We are pretty close. At the beginning of the year, some of the teams were struggling with these new packages so they really didn’t have much time to talk.”

Gene Haas owns a highly respected Nascar team with Tony Stewart
Gene Haas owns a highly respected NASCAR team with Tony Stewart

“We would hope to have a firm contract in hand within the next month. We want to make sure we get it right because this is going to be more than an engine and transmission deal. We are hoping to also partner with some technology.”

Earlier this month it emerged that the team would delay their F1 debut until the 2016 season, Haas explained, “We don’t want to have the USF1 stigma. That would be a disaster. I think that they decided they could do this in a very short period . . . and then found out that a lot of infrastructure needs to be built. If you had that infrastructure from an existing team, I think you would have more to go on, but with us we have nothing.”

“We have an extra year here to acquire equipment from other teams who are getting rid of stuff. A lot is the nuts and bolts stuff that you can’t exactly go to a catalog and buy and that is what is necessary for operation. All these little bits and pieces make it all work, and we would be scrambling for 2015.”

“Now it gives us a little opportunity to find out what we can acquire from other teams or buy from suppliers. It is a sensible decision, but it is not a passionate one,” added Haas.