Haas: I wouldn't be doing it if I thought I was going to fail.


Having had his entry accepted by the FIA, Gene Haas insists his team, which will race as Haas Formula, should be taken seriously.

Often, through no fault of their own, race fans in the United States have been poorly treated by Formula One. Races held in car parks, drivers never fully accepted in the tightknit Eurocentric paddock, the ludicrous US F1 saga... and not forgetting the shambles that was Indianapolis 2005.

Speaking at a press conference at the North Carolina facility that houses his NASCAR team, and will be the American base for his F1 challenge, which will also have a European base, Gene Haas insists that he knows what he is getting into and is fully prepared for the challenge.

"This is not going to be a European 'just throw money at things and go racing' approach," he said. "This is going to be an American, well-run, efficient organization. We're the most advanced country on the planet, so I don't see any reasons why we can't do this."

Granted a slot on the 2015 grid, the American admits - cue sighs and jokes about toasters - that he may have to delay to 2016.

"I would like to do 2015, simply because I think the first year is going to be a difficult year no matter what happens," he admitted. "The FIA has basically told us we have to elect which year we want to participate in and I think there's a timetable sometime around June.

"It's a very big challenge and part of that learning curve is just simply getting to the track and sorting out the logistics of going from race to race, and the sooner we learn that, the sooner we'll be done with that.

"It's one of those things that we're going to find out in the next few weeks, and hopefully in the next four weeks we should have an idea which year we're going to pursue.

"We need to come up with a plan where we can basically arrive with a car that's based on our partners' technology within the rules of the FIA," he continued.

Though he wouldn't be drawn on a potential driver line-up, he admitted that his ideal scenario would involve partnering an up and coming American driver with a veteran F1 driver "currently competing" and "familiar with the current engine package rules".

There is still speculation as to whose power units the team will use, and while Ferrari has been mentioned so too has Mercedes. As for chassis, the American confirmed that Dallara is very much in the mix.

"It's going to take us a while to learn, and we're going to lean heavily on our technical partner to help us," said Haas.

In terms of personnel, Former Jaguar and Red Bull Technical director Guenther Steiner who will run the team, was giving little away.

"We're in contact with people," he said, "but also we just got the license last week, and until you've got the license you can't employ anybody and nobody would come and work for you if they don't know if you've got a license in the future. The real works starts now, we need to get the people, we need to define if we start in '15 or '16, and we need to pick our partner."

"I'm here to prove we can do it," said Haas. "We can do it with a budget and we can win at it. I'm not saying I'm better than anyone else, I just have a different way of doing it. I wouldn't be doing it if I thought I was going to fail."

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Published: 14/04/2014
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