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Haas: Gap to leaders "really depressing"

NEWS STORY
14/08/2017

We don't recall who exactly came up with the expression that the 'only way to make a small fortune from Formula One is to start with a big one', but never was a truer word spoken.

The list of enthusiastic businessmen and entrepreneurs who have signed up to the sport in the belief that they knew something that their predecessors didn't is long, and one shudders to think of the billions that have been wasted over the years.

While Gene Haas readily admits that he entered F1 to promote his machine tools business on a global basis, deep down he was, like so many before him, hoping to make a difference, aiming not to follow the mistakes of others, and while a serious stab at the title was a pipedream, the odd Hesketh-style giant-killing was still possible.

Yet, just half-way into his second season, the American realises that unless he is prepared to at least triple or quadruple his budget, he is doomed to continue watching his team battle the likes of Toro Rosso and McLaren for the scraps, a bit-part player in a movie in which the stars are truly out of reach.

"I think we have two good drivers right now, they've both scored points, the car's very good," he told Motorsport.com. "But the real cloud that hangs over us is the fact we're one to two seconds off the fastest cars, and quite frankly we don't understand how we can be that far off with what we consider to be state-of-the-art equipment.

"Other than the top three teams, everybody's in that boat," he admits. "That to me is probably the biggest problem that I see right now, that the top three teams are light years ahead of everybody else. They are also the teams that develop their own engines, transmissions and chassis, so there's an inherent advantage in doing that.

"How do we overcome that? Quite frankly there's no answer to that, which is really depressing," he continues. "That's the dilemma that F1 is facing. You have the teams at the front and then this big mid-pack, we're all very close together, matter of fact the mid-pack is all within a second. So from a competitive standpoint we're all very equal, it's just you have this group way out in front that we're all struggling with.

"The reality of it is that outside those three teams nobody has a chance to win. If you're running sixth through 20th, you really don't have a chance of winning."

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1. Posted by NS Biker, 17/08/2017 5:43

"Teams are quick to scramble to get either the "currently" best available driver or the best up-and-comer that they think will score points or be worth something to another team.
A valid and reasonable goal. You won't win anything unless your driver has "The Talent", but even there, they can only do so much.
If the gap to the top teams is as big as they say it is, then there must be something in the car itself. Ya think.??
Sounds like they need to put as much effort into hiring the right technical wizards as they do for the drivers. Where would RedBull be without their technical leader.? Same for the other top teams.
The midfield team's drivers may be almost as good as the those of the top teams, but the cars being provided them are not. It sounds like a technical problem and GH should be astute enough to see that and recognize what can be done to reduce the deficit. It won't be easy, it may ruffle a few feathers, but you can't rely on the rules makers to do it for them.
NASCAR and Indy Car don't have the technical competition that F1 has. This means you need a better design team than the other guys. Check out Force India for a team punching above their weight.
"

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2. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 16/08/2017 18:52

"@ ZJAY - this, or something very similar was tried during 1987 season (the 1.5t/c days) for teams still running Cosworth V8's - the Colin Chapman Trophy for teams, and Jim Clark Cup for drivers. It lasted one season which should tell you enough. Ken Tyrrell and his driver Johnathan Palmer were the respective winners. It was an honest attempt to provide a championship within a championship, but was largely overlooked by most parties (how can a car finishing 10th be classed a "winner"). Very similar to the Saloon Car championships of the 60's and 70's where an entrant of the smallest capacity class could be the overall winner of the Championship by virtue of class wins as opposed to overall wins (such as Bill McGovern in 1970).

F1 is all about winning - Eddie Irvine demonstrated as much when he shouted at Eddie Jordan after winning his first GP (Australia '99) "Here's the first of the losers" - Jordan finished 2nd with Frentzen.

If you talk to any of the teams, their aim is to either get to the front or, if they are one of the top teams, to stay there. No-one is interested in a 2nd division."

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3. Posted by alfsboy, 16/08/2017 18:41

"Oh dear .I have heard several team bosses say to me they dont know why their cars are so much slower .One even said "well They all look the same".Sadly it didnt end happily for them and I doubt if it will for Hass but brownie points for trying and If I ever buy 100 million USD worth of machine tools or indeed anyone else does we will all know the reason why ."

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4. Posted by ZJAY, 15/08/2017 19:04

"The midfield should run their own championship within F1. Excluding the top three team they should come up with a point system, end of race celebration trophy and interviews. It will be a good way to make a point. Maybe they can run a website live during the race with the ranking of cars excluding the big three. They will get a good idea of the interest through website traffic. "

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5. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 15/08/2017 12:34

"Welcome to the wonderful world of F1. Until you pull all your design and construction in-house, don't expect to get to the very front. Look at Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull - assess how they are doing it - copy that - and expect more hardships on the way toward the sharp end - in fact, use them as motivation!"

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6. Posted by mickl, 14/08/2017 23:29

"aww diddums...is big brother Ferrari not sharing all the toys?"

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