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Haas leading the race to join Formula 1 in 2015

Apr 3, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 1 Getty Images

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said that the bid from Gene Haas to join the sport in 2015 is currently leading the way, and is largely dependent on the team’s plans for the next few years should it get the nod.

The FIA confirmed at the end of last season that there was a free spot open on the grid for the 2015 season, sparking interest from NASCAR team owner Haas (pictured left), former team principal Colin Kolles, and Zoran Stefanovich in his fourth bid to have an F1 team.

Of the three, Haas’ project was the most viable from the go as a racing team with facilities is already in place. However, following the demise of the US F1 project back in 2009, there was a great deal of skepticism. Now though, Ecclestone has dropped the biggest hint yet that there will be an American team on the grid next year.

“I think Haas will be accepted,” Ecclestone explained to The Independent. “They have got the money but it’s a question of whether they are going to spend it.”

Following HRT’s exit at the end of 2012, a 12th place has been available on the grid. However, the FIA chose to bide its time and missed the initial date of February 28th to announce who would be taking the place.

Haas spent some time with the FIA last month putting forward his proposal, and said: “They’re pretty intense. They had a lot of good questions. I think what they do is they take that information, evaluate it, make their recommendations to I think it’s the Formula One’s owners association or next group of people, and the process goes on.”

Of course, much of the FIA’s decision depends on the viability of the project. One of the Formula 1’s biggest challenges in the United States is the time zone, given that it is largely Euro-centric sport.

However, what sets Haas’ project aside from the failed US F1 bid is that much of the facilities and finance is already in place. It is not a ‘new’ racing operation, but instead an extended one from his current interest in NASCAR with the Stewart-Haas team.

As a side note, the domain name has been registered by Haas Automation.

Although no final decision has been made, Ecclestone’s comments will certainly be encouraging. It is worth taking them with a pinch of salt, though, as the FIA does not have to welcome a 12th team for 2015. If none of the projects are deemed viable, we will remain with 11 teams next year.

Haas certainly seems determined to make it happen, though, and it could work wonders for the sport in the United States as Ecclestone also pushes for a second grand prix to complement the race at the Circuit of the Americas.

  1. mrhighlyevolved - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    As an American F1 fan, I would love to see this happen.

  2. testover6370 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    I hope to see it happen too, but I’m slightly pessimistic. Bernie has at other times expressed a desire to see F1 down to 10 teams. I think this has the best chance of happening if both Caterham and Lotus drop out after this year and that drops the list down to 9 teams, and adding one new team would bring F1 back to Bernie’s magic 10 count. The question is, can Haas operate on that sort of short notice?

  3. mcseforsale - Apr 3, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Haas could afford to buy out Lotus. That’s what he should do.

  4. techmeister1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    While Haas has some money I don’t believe he has what it takes to compete in F1 even if he was able to get some good sponsorship funding. While it would be nice to see a true U.S. based F1 team, the practicality of it is unrealistic.

    If you just want to say you are in F1 and finish at the back of the grid – when you actually finish, that’s one thing. If however you actually want to be competitive, you had better have at least $400 Million to spend every year as “operating costs” and you better have 300 or more top notch, experience F1 engineers and personnel in addition to approximately a Billion dollars in wind tunnel, CFD, composite fabs, etc. – just to get STARTED.

    Haas Racing has NONE OF THIS but Bernie will be glad to take sucker money for a few years as he does from the current three backmarkers. Believe me most people including successful Indy Car and NASCAR teams have no clue as to how complex F1 racing is or how to even enter the game. A serious U.S. organizations would want to spend at least 3-5 years campaigning a championship winning GP2 team just to get a feel for F1. Otherwise it’s all just a pipe dream fueled by ego.

    • crunge4461 - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      Well Hass does own the best wind-tunnel in North America. However, overall I agree with much of what you have said, the excessive cost and incredibly complex nature of F1 I personally feel is one the sports most primary flaw, that is just my opinion cause I want to see great on track racing, and F1 was not always like this. The small level privateer, until the late 90s, could enter F1 and be stable and sometimes even thrive (Tyrell, for example). The insane cost of F1 is seriously threatening the health of the sport (Renault, HRT, Caterham and so on)

      I am not the most technical thinker, but there is a big reason why this would be a mistake for Hass. Just look at precedent, first of all, Honda and Toyota both showed that despite spending more than anyone results are not guarnteed. Second, look at the three new teams, HRT, Caterham, and Marussia….four years on and one of them had their cars end up in a Spanish junk-yard, and the other two have never even scored a point! Are you kidding me, 4 years and not a point, it is almost impossible to even perceive that Marussia and Caterham have made any progress what so ever, have either of them ever even legitimately passed one of the other 9 teams on track? I imagine that these teams would have never entered F1 if they thought they would be 4 years in and not even close to competing for points…that is very sad, they are a second tier of the sport, and are proof of the sports unhealthy status and I cannot imagine that any privateer would be seriously looking to join their ranks.

      • indycarseries500 - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        At the same time Renault was spending roughly less than half of what Ferrari, Toyota, Honda, McLaren, Ford, etc. were and they took two WDCs and WCCs.

  5. mcseforsale - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    So true techmeister1. Racing in spec series (NASCAR and Indy) is completely different.

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