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Haas considered buying F1 team a year ago

NEWS STORY
13/06/2014

Gene Haas has made a big deal of the fact that the Formula One team he is launching in 2016 will be an American outfit from the ground up. However, he has recently revealed that this wasn't always his aim and, in fact, around a year ago he considered buying an F1 team according to an article in Autoweek by Christian Sylt.

During the Spanish Grand Prix rumours raced around the paddock that Haas was considering a takeover of Lotus and he has also been linked to a purchase of Caterham. However, a Haas spokesman put the brakes on this talk and said "Gene remains committed to building an American-based Formula One team and his plans have not changed." Things were different around a year ago as Haas himself reveals.

"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."

He has hired former Red Bull Racing technical director Guenther Steiner to run the team which will be based in North Carolina. Its home will be the same factory as NASCAR's championship-winning Stewart-Haas team which Haas co-owns. Pitpass recently revealed that the team's European base is likely to be in England and Haas says that a decision on that and its engine partner will be made in the next few weeks.

"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. 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."

Haas says that he decided to launch in 2016 instead of 2015 to avoid making the same mistake as the ill-fated US F1 team which failed to take up a grid slot in 2010. "I think they decided they could do this in a very short period of time 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."

He says that the additional time will be put to good use. "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 catalogue 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."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paul C, 01/07/2014 19:57

"Gene, just buy Caterham before the Romanians do and the set up situation is solved."

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2. Posted by MrShadow, 15/06/2014 16:07

"He knows about racing and how to produce results. The question is if he can make the switch from the 'relaxed' American racing to the more 'competitive' F1 standard. Going to a F1 race hoping to look around in the garages to see what other teams use seems to be a bit naieve."

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3. Posted by gturner38, 14/06/2014 2:58

"I'm sure outfitting the factory with other team's leftovers is going to work out well. I mean, I'm sure everyone is going to sell them top quality equipment at a discount rather than gouge them on the price of heavily used items that are being replaced for a reason."

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4. Posted by Steve W, 13/06/2014 17:14

"I must say that my personal jury is still very much out on this whole project. Sometimes, I think it looks like Haas knows what he's doing and other times, I think he has absolutely no idea what he's getting in to..."

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