Haas owner Gene Haas has revealed he is considering exiting Formula 1, unless his team can get off to a strong start to the 2020 season.
Yet to sign a contract to race in 2021 and beyond, the team’s eponymous owner admits he is hesitant to commit to another term.
“I’m just kind of waiting to see how this season starts off,” he told Autosport. “If it starts off strong then maybe there’s a possibility that we can continue.
“But if we have another bad year, then it would not be that favourable.”
Having entered the sport in 2016, this coming year will be Haas’ fifth in a journey that has seen them experience both the highs and lows of the sport.
After two eighth-placed finishes in their first two seasons, the team managed to climb to fifth in the 2018 constructor’s standings before a disastrous year in 2019 saw them finish second-last.
“We did five years. That was really the test – we’re going to do this for five years, see how it goes and evaluate it and then we’ll decide whether to go forward,” Haas continued.
“I’m not saying we won’t be back. It has to be evaluated. To do it for another five years, though, that would be a big commitment.”
Citing the impending regulations overhaul in 2021, the concern for Haas is the cost it would take to become competitive, even if a budget cap makes it less than required previously.
“I know everyone thinks the changes are good, but boy, they’re expensive.
“It’s like anything else, they’ve changed so many aspects of the car, you just know there’s going to be a lot of troubleshooting to get it right. It’s difficult for the teams.
“These changes that they implement, I think they do it with the best of intentions but when you are on the other side of the equation trying to implement them, economically it’s extremely difficult.”
“As everybody knows with the way the money has been distributed 70 percent of it goes to the top three teams and 30 percent of it goes to the other seven teams. It’s not a good economic model.
“At least in our condition, you’re only paid about a third of what it actually costs to run a team in Formula 1.
“Obviously, every team has a different nature as to why they do it. Some of it is primary sponsorship. Ferrari is that they’ve been doing it for 60 years.
“But they take home enough money to actually make the $175 million cap, but a lot of the other teams operate on a quarter of that. So, how can you really run a race team with that kind of disparity?”
“It’s time consuming and it puts a huge amount of stress on the teams to compete. It’s not really beneficial to the teams that aren’t in the top four or five.”