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The honeymoon is over, admits Gene Haas

NEWS STORY
23/07/2017

Talking to the official F1 website, when asked if he is still in the honeymoon period with the sport, Gene Haas, now half-way through his second season, admits: "I would say the honeymoon is over.

"Now comes the tricky part of living together!" he continues. "F1 is a challenge, it is not easy, coming to a race every second weekend and seeing opportunities slipping away and you know that you have to work harder to achieve what you want.

Racing at this level - Formula 1 - is not easy," he continues, when asked how the sport compares to his endeavours in the US. "Your competitors are always as good if not better than you are, so you can't just go out there and pass - you have to look at strategies, look at what you are capable of and what they are capable of, and try to find differences that give you a chance to take advantage of that."

On entering F1, other than sporting aims, the team also had clear commercial ambitions.

"It is working quite well," says Haas. "Take for example the UK. We have a little office in Banbury just near the Silverstone track. We had a reception last week and it was fantastic to see how enthusiastic our customers are about our F1 engagement.

"For them, we are no longer a simple machine tool builder - our customer perceives us now as part of Formula 1. Wow, these guys are participating in this high-level racing! And that is translating over to the image of Haas Automation. We are a lifestyle company now. There you go!"

As well as an American team, the sport now has American owners.

"We are in the early stages," he admits. "What they are doing now definitely will be of benefit down the road.

"Liberty is making a lot of changes to Formula 1, opening up more to the fans," he adds. "The F1 Live event in Trafalgar Square was simply fantastic. These things will help to get more people engaged with F1."

Well established in the midfield, Haas is asked his goal.

"Right now I would say from P5 to P8 is so close that eventually we could drop or gain a position with every race," he replies. "And in this midfield section the team that will finish ahead of his opponents will be the one that makes the least mistakes.

"If you don't make mistakes and get both drivers in the points every race you can do really well," he continues. "Force India has done very well and if we can do that we can move ahead. And if we don't then Toro Rosso will do it.

"We have to be consistent and reliable and finish races. If we finish a race we are probably in that seventh, eighth or ninth position or maybe tenth. All these positions make points."

Asked if there is a clear target to be achieved by season end, he admits: "Not really. But when I remember Baku there could have been an opportunity to get on the podium, as Kevin was third for a while and we were screaming in the garage... 'Keep going, keep going!' A podium, that would have been a milestone for our history."

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1. Posted by Editor, 24/07/2017 15:47

"@ Willy56

First off, when you write: "I can go to many websites that provide entertainment I don't pay for as they are paid by the ads that pop up all over the page. Pitpass being one of them."

Rest assured that websites, much, much bigger than Pitpass carry such ads, and often they are far more intrusive.

Also, rest assured that, certainly in Pitpass' case, the ads do not cover our costs, far from it.

But I digress.

My comment wasn't aimed at your reference to cable channels and the like, but rather the line: "If Liberty wants more fans they should open up the online access and let us all watch live races free."

I repeat, look at any statement from FOM in terms of the direction they want the sport to take and you will always find the word "monetise"

Liberty isn’t in F1 for altruistic reasons, it is in F1 to make money.

In terms of the TV packages, it's a problem we all suffer. When F1 first appeared on Sky in the UK, it was stand alone. However, now one has to have F1 as part of a sports package – sports that many F1 fans have no interest in - and this incurs a hefty monthly fee on top of the fee already incurred by subscribing to the basic Sky package.

However, a look at any of the recent Friday press conferences reveals that it is not just FOM/Liberty, the teams are equally keen to part fans from their cash."

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2. Posted by Willy56, 24/07/2017 15:27

"Chris,
I believe if you look you will see that I said I would be willing to pay a monthly fee to watch but I am not interested in a full compliment of cable channels just to watch a short race every two or three weeks for 9 or 10 months a year.
I pay less then $10 a month for Netflix that provides lots of viewing options.
I can go to many websites that provide entertainment I don't pay for as they are paid by the ads that pop up all over the page. Pitpass being one of them.
"

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3. Posted by Editor, 23/07/2017 18:10

"@ Willy56

"Free" are you bring serious, "free"?

Check out any recent interview with any member of the FOM team and the world you'll always find is 'monetise'.

Liberty Media is making all sorts of promises, but rest assured that all of them will have to be paid for… indeed, even as you read this they'll be thinking of various ways to part you from your money.

"Free"… sorry, but that's the funniest thing I've read all day."

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4. Posted by Willy56, 23/07/2017 17:10

"I am thrilled that Haas are not bailing out and it will help the sport to have an American team. As too the American owners Liberty, they would do well to get up to speed with online streaming as more and more homes are dumping cable to get all their entertainment online for free.
If Liberty wants more fans they should open up the online access and let us all watch live races free. As it is now you have to list your cable provider to get online. Those of us who do not have a cable provider are left out. I have not seen an F1 race in almost two seasons as I can't watch online without a cable account. I would be willing to come back to the fold if I could do so online. Even if it required a small monthly fee. I was paying over $125 per month for literally hundreds of channels that I did not watch as they are full of crap I am not interested in or are aimed at a different demographic. "

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