Today, Gene Haas made a big splash in the motorsport market by announcing his approval of his Formula One team license for 2015 or 2016. In case, you missed it I posted the transcript of his teleconference earlier this afternoon. If you don’t know who Gene Haas is, he is a co-owner of a NASCAR Sprint Cup operation called Stewart-Haas Racing, co-owning with 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart. Together Stewart and Haas field four cars employing Stewart, Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick. Haas also owns Haas Automotive which is based in California.
Mr. Haas has made no secret about joining Formula One to the press. This is no joke to Haas and his driver Kurt Busch made that very clear to some Fox Sports reporters during the Moto GP World Championship event at Circuit of the Americas,which Busch attended after competing Saturday night at Darlington in NASCAR.
So what does this mean for America? Remember in 2010 when Virgin (Marussia now) Lotus (Caterham) and HRT came on board to the Formula One scene. There was supposed to be another team coming with those teams; United States Formula One Team which was supposed to be run by Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson with the team’s bases in Charlotte and Aragon, Spain.
Since then, Marussia and Caterham have stayed on but HRT dropped out last year after financial issues. The biggest question I have for this Gene Haas Formula One project is the money.
Haas Racing Developments as the team will be called will be based in Kannapolis, North Carolina alongside the Stewart Haas NASCAR operations but will run as two seperate units. HRD will try to establish a second European base. Today, Haas revealed that the team will use a Dallara chassis and a Mercedes or Ferrari engine. The HRD team principal is Gunther Steiner, former Red Bull and Jaguar technical director.
Many questions are still to be answered but this is a very good start for a F1 team in America. Later this week I will have my opinion on who the team should go after as drivers and how the 2 base system will fare.