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NASCAR’s Gene Haas confirms plans to enter an F1 team (UPDATED)

Jan 16, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

NASCAR Winter Testing - Day 2 Getty Images

File this in the “out of left field” and “we’ll see if this actually happens” categories, but judging by Gene Haas’ pursuit of Kurt Busch last summer, you can’t rule anything out with his ambitions or desires for his race team.

A German report from Auto Motor und Sport identifies Haas’ Haas Racing team as wanting to submit its own entry for the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship. The FIA has opened a selection process for a new 12th team.

According to this report, the team would be run in-house in Charlotte by former Red Bull team manager Guenther Steiner, with cars initially built by Dallara and engines and transmissions from Ferrari. Haas’ operation does have some of the necessary elements to run an F1 squad, as he is the world’s largest manufacturer of CNC machines, and is also near the Windshear wind tunnel in Concord, North Carolina.

The other two teams identified by the AMS are Colin Kolles’ team and the mysterious StefanGP operation. Kolles has been in-and-out of F1 with the Jordan/Midland/Spyker/Force India and HRT teams, while StefanGP had applied for a grid position in 2010 but was denied.

If you’re skeptical about the American presence, you have good reason to be. The USF1 saga of 2009 into 2010 saw Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson attempt to set up a Charlotte-based squad to enter the 2010 F1 championship, but for a variety of reasons, primarily down to a lack of resources and an unfinished chassis, the team was forced to withdraw before ever turning a wheel.

Haas, Tony Stewart‘s partner at Stewart-Haas Racing, is co-owner of the four-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team with Stewart, Busch, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick as drivers. He is not related to Carl Haas, who ran the Beatrice Haas Lola F1 team in 1985 and 1986, and was also co-owner of one of North America’s most successful race teams, Newman/Haas Racing with the late Paul Newman.

UPDATE, 2:30 p.m. ET: Haas confirmed the report. Yes, he’s interested.

“We have responded to the FIA’s ‘call for expression of interest’ regarding a Formula One entry on behalf of Haas Racing Development,” the statement read. “We respect the FIA’s evaluation process and will share more details in the coming weeks.”

And now we begin the wait for more.

  1. testover6370 - Jan 16, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    So the initials are HRT, it will be run out of Charlotte, and use Dallara built cars. How many more bad omens could you possibly think of?

    • twystedwiz - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      Haas Racing Development = hrD, not HRT.

      Yeah, Charlotte, where they own one of the only rolling bed wind tunnels in the world. Wind tunnels are critical to any F1 teams program and success. Look at all the problems Ferrari has had with theirs, and it has had a negative impact on their performance. There is as much race car building talent and technology available in proximity to the Charlotte area as there is anywhere else in the world. The area had much less to do with the USF1 failure than the principals did. Let’s hope Haas never lets PW anywhere close to this project.

      Dallara, bleh. We can only hope this is a short term solution to get their foot in the door. It will be ugly, it will be a pig, and it will be “generic”.

      • testover6370 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:38 PM

        “A German report from Auto Motor und Sport identifies Haas’ Haas Racing team”

        And the name, the location, and the chassis builder don’t necessarily spell doom. Certainly Charlotte offers motor sports resources in abundance, and Dallara has plenty of experience building formula cars. I was just joking that these were all elements of previous failed F1 attempts, but I don’t think they are the cause of failure. That would be funding.

  2. indycar02 - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    some day, somebody’s gonna get it right.

  3. redrock81 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    The safest bet would probably partner with an existing team and start from there before going full blast on setting up an F1 team. *Ahem Lotus cough cough*

  4. worknman24hours - Jan 19, 2014 at 12:48 AM

    Put a billion dollars on hold cause that’s what it will take to fight at the front.

    You have to be right on that years formula with the smartest cheating bastards you can find building your car and drivetrains and with a brilliant pair of drivers with almost a robotic focus at winning to have any chance of fighting at the front as well as a great team backing it all up.

    And everyone on the team has to KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT ABOUT IT.

    Anything else and you are just wasting huge amounts of cash.

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