Amid fears that Gene Haas is increasingly disenchanted with Formula 1, Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner confirms that the end is not in sight and sees positives in the American inking the latest Concorde Agreement that binds the team to the sport until 2025.
Quoted in the Haas team preview of the forthcoming 2020 Belgian Grand Prix, Steiner said, “Gene looked at it and Formula 1’s still a very good tool for getting his brand name, Haas Automation, out in the world. It works – otherwise, he wouldn’t be doing it.
“He loves the sport as well. Even if it is a big financial commitment, with the new regulations coming in, it should make the playing field more even and the commercial aspects better for the smaller teams – so as a result, he has decided to continue,” confirmed Steiner.
And continued, “For me, it means – even at the moment when we’re not running competitively, we’ve got a Formula 1 team which works, and that’s more down to the team than to me. I’m part of the team though, we all work together, and in the end, Gene believes in the team. Everybody is, for sure, happy to be moving forward now with the agreement signed.”
Haas began life in Formula 1 back in 2016, with their best year being 2018 in which they finished fifth in the championship. But since then, they have dropped to the wring end of the midfield; a slog for their veteran drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.
But the new regulations, now delayed a year until the start of 2022, particularly the agreement to impose a new budget cap could be a game-changer in the top flight.
After lengthy negotiations, F1 will decrease spending on a sliding scale over several years. The cap will be set at $145-million in 2021, dropping to $140-million in 2022, then $135-million for 2023–25.
Thus Steiner sees light at the end of the tunnel, and believes signing-up to the new Concorde Agreement is worth the commitment, “The budget cap should level the playing field, it will level the playing field – just maybe not in the first year, but in the mid-term for sure.
“The payments, to make it more equal, will also mean the smaller teams get a little more revenue. It’s never enough for the small teams by the way, but it levels the field and that should be the aim of a sport – any day, anybody can win.
“It’ll take a while until that happens but for Formula One it’s a big step in the right direction. Times change and I think Liberty did a great job in adapting to those times and making changes when it was needed. It was needed a few years ago, but it’s better late than never,” reckoned the Haas team boss.