Gene Haas says his plans for an American-based Formula 1 team could take two years to come to fruition.
In a press conference Monday in Charlotte, following last week’s announcement that his bid to create an F1 team had been accepted by the FIA, NASCAR team co-owner Haas revealed that the team would compete under the name Haas Formula, and that he had retained Guenther Steiner, who previously worked with Red Bull Racing, to serve as team principal. However, Haas and Steiner admitted they aren’t yet sure whether the team would be ready in time for the 2015 season, although they expect to know within the next month whether its debut will have to wait until 2016. He indicated his preference would be sooner, if an engine supply deal can be agreed in time.
“I think 2015 is too close and 2016 is too far – that’s kind of where I see it,” Haas said. “If we wait until 2016 were are going to start delaying and spending even more money because we will be a neutral. What we need to do is come up with a plan where we can basically arrive with a car that is based on our partner’s technology within the rules of the FIA. We are going to have to beg, borrow and steal to arrive at that first race so we can compete.”
He confirmed that the the chassis pafrtner is likely to be Dallara.
“We’re not looking to start our own shop,” Haas confirmed. “We’ve had preliminary talks with Dallara and they’re ready to go. They have a complete facility, they’re experienced, [and] they’ve been involved in racing forever as far as I can remember.
“It would be insurmountable to say we going to figure out how to build a chassis by ourselves and hire all the people in nine months. We’re going to have to compromise on what we do with construction of the car and acquire whatever we can.”
“It’s extremely hard to do,” Haas admitted of building a team from scratch, although he dismissed comparisons to the failed USF1 venture – also to have been based in Charlotte – which was approved to join the F1 field in 2010 but never turned a wheel.
“I respect that they tried. I don’t think that they made a whole-hearted attempt. For whatever reasons, they failed at it. But I’m partners with Tony Stewart in a very successful (NASCAR) racing team and I have a machine tool company that has the capability of building the most sophisticated machines in the world. I have a lot of the resources and infrastructure that is necessary to succeed.
“That’s the challenge of it all – to prove other people wrong.”
Among those is his Windshear wind tunnel, which he said proffered potential advantages: We have the capability to run verification of a full-scale model, which a lot of our competitors can’t do.”
Haas said that hiring a young American driver was a goal, although he is not yet considering candidates. He said he expects the program to cost billions of dollars. “Every week it goes up by another billion,” Haas joked.