Skip to content

American-based F1 franchise, Haas Formula, officially introduced

Apr 14, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

Gene Haas Formula One Press Conference Getty Images

Over the last year, we’ve learned that Gene Haas is not afraid to take big risks.

The NASCAR team co-owner proved as much this past off-season when he almost single-handedly brought in Kurt Busch and triggered the expansion of his Stewart-Haas Racing operation (in which he shares ownership with three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart) to a four-car program.

It was a major gamble that would ensure plenty of attention from NASCAR Nation – which, in turn, ensured that if the gamble backfired, it would be a memorable disaster.

As NASCAR goes into the Easter break, SHR has claimed three checkered flags in the season’s first eight races, including Kevin Harvick‘s second win of the season last weekend at Darlington and Busch’s triumph a few weeks ago at Martinsville.

That leap of faith from Haas has paid off. But now, Haas, a businessman who has become a billionaire off manufacturing machine tools, is preparing for his toughest venture yet in motorsports.

Last week, he received word that he would indeed become a Formula One franchise owner. This morning, he dubbed the new franchise as Haas Formula and revealed that it would be based in Kannapolis, North Carolina – the town most famous for spawning one of America’s greatest racing families, the Earnhardts.

Once again, the eyes of the racing world will be on him, and he acknowledged that at least some of the attention is based off of a chance to see his team fail.

But like always, he was confident that he would succeed – not only in performance on the track, but also in giving F1 the bigger presence in America that it craves.

“I’m sure most people are betting that we will fail,” said Haas, who was flanked at today’s press conference by his new team principal, Guenther Steiner, a former technical director at Red Bull and Jaguar.

“And that’s why it’s going to be successful, because if we don’t fail, then we’ve done something that other people haven’t. And that will definitely help sell Formula One in the U.S.”

Haas indicated that the team still must elect whether they’ll be ready to go for the 2015 season or if they’ll wait for 2016. That decision, according to him, should be made within the next month.

“I think 2015 is too close and 2016 is too far, so that’s kind of where I see it,” he said. “If we wake up in 2016 we’re just going to start delaying and strategizing and we’re going to end up spending even more money because we’ll just basically be in a neutral position until maybe the middle of next year.”

With that in mind, he intends to initially utilize a car that’s at least partially based on the technology of the team’s partners – whoever those will eventually be.

One of those partners may well be Italy-based chassis manufacturer Dallara, which most recently worked with the now-defunct HRT team on its 2010 challenger.

Haas noted that he’s held preliminary talks with Dallara but that the ultimate goal was for his team to become a legitimate constructor.

“…As time goes on, we’ll learn,” Haas said. “We’ll figure it out, and the car will eventually evolve into our own car – and quite frankly, I think we can beat the Europeans at their own game.”

As for the engine side of things, Haas plans to forge a deal similar to a pact for his NASCAR effort that allows them to use Hendrick Motorsports powerplants.

“To sit there and say that we can understand what’s going on with these cars in a year or two is not reasonable,” he admitted. “It’s going to take us a while to learn and we’re going to lean heavily on a technical partner to help us.”

Just making it to the F1 paddock would put Haas Formula on a higher level than the last attempt at an American-based Grand Prix team.

In 2009, USF1 was granted entry into the series for 2010 and planned to have bases in both Charlotte, North Carolina and in Spain. But the project ultimately collapsed, and today, Haas said that while he respected those involved for trying, he felt that the project’s failure “cast a long shadow.”

Nonetheless, he feels that with his many resources, he can excel where USF1 failed.

“USF1 was basically a start-up that basically had no resources what so ever,” he said. “They didn’t have a racing team. They took on a huge challenge, and I admire the fact they took that challenge.

“But on the other hand, I’m partners with Tony Stewart in a very successful NASCAR racing team. I have a machine tool company that has the capability of building the most sophisticated machines in the world…I have a rolling road wind tunnel, Windshear, a 180 mile per hour wind tunnel.

“I have a lot of the resources and basic infrastructure that I think is necessary in order to succeed in this.”

Latest Posts
  1. Preview: IndyCar will race to honor Wilson, and to close its season, at Sonoma

    Aug 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Montoya, Rahal the two likely contenders to claim Power’s crown, as IndyCar looks for solace and a great race to end the season and ease the pain after the loss of Justin Wilson.

  2. Audi quickest in opening WEC practice at the Nürburgring

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:44 AM EDT

    <> on June 13, 2015 in Le Mans, France. Getty Images

    First blood to Audi as its battle with Porsche is rekindled on home soil.

  3. Andretti to field No. 25 car at Sonoma; Oriol Servia to drive Wilson tribute car

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:14 PM EDT

    ServiaRLLreturn Getty Images

    Oriol Servia will race in what was Justin Wilson’s car this weekend at Sonoma.

  4. IndyCars cross the Golden Gate Bridge; pay tribute to Justin Wilson (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    IndyCars cross the Golden Gate Bridge in a motorcade, for pre-title buildup and to pay tribute to Justin Wilson.

  5. Aleshin geared up ahead of IndyCar return at Sonoma

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    TORONTO - JULY 18:  Mikhail Aleshin of Russia driver of the #7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara Honda during practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto on July 18, 2014, in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Aleshin returns to IndyCar this weekend after a year away.

  6. Special liveries, Wilson tribute stickers set for IndyCar’s Sonoma season finale

    Aug 27, 2015, 3:14 PM EDT

    BadAssWilsonlogo

    All cars to carry special tribute logos, decals for Justin Wilson this weekend, with Wilson’s old team also paying tribute.

  7. Win or bust for Rahal at Sonoma in chase for IndyCar title

    Aug 27, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    rahal Getty Images

    Rahal out to claim his third win of the season at Sonoma, believing it will be the only way to beat Juan Pablo Montoya to the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series title.

  8. Report: Chilton in F1 talks with Haas, but remains unsure about chances

    Aug 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 12:  Max Chilton of Great Britain and Marussia speaks with members of the media during the Russian Formula One Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom on October 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Max Chilton has two years of F1 experience under his belt, but believes Ferrari will have a big say in who Haas hires for 2016.

  9. Vettel: One-stop strategy at Spa was never risky

    Aug 27, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    vettel Getty Images

    Vettel defends Ferrari’s decision to try a one-stop strategy at Spa after suffering a tire failure on the penultimate lap of the race.

  10. Fast Facts: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    SonomaCrash AP

    Fast facts heading into this weekend’s season finale, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, courtesy of IndyCar PR staff.

  11. Rossi: GP2 victory in Belgium “perfect timing”

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Victory at Spa gives Rossi momentum heading into the final four rounds of the 2015 season, and potentially in the race for a seat with Haas F1 Team next season.

  12. Porsche extends LMP1 commitment by three more years

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:36 AM EDT

    The Porsche 919 Hybrid No19 of the Porsche Team driven by Nico Hulkenberg of Germany, Earl Bamber of New Zealand and Nick Tandy of Great Britain crosses the finish line to win the 83rd 24-hour Le Mans endurance race ahead of the Porsche 919 Hybrid No17 driven by Timo Bernhard of Germany, Marck Webber of Australia and Brendon Hartley of New Zealand, in Le Mans, western France, Sunday, June 14, 2015. (AP Photo/David Vincent) AP

    Off the back of winning Le Mans, Porsche confirms it will stay in the FIA World Endurance Championship for at least another three years.

  13. NHRA: Pro Stock driver Erica Enders hitting on all cylinders heading into U.S. Nationals

    Aug 26, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    Erica Enders (Photo courtesy NHRA) Erica Enders (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Just in time for the biggest race in drag racing, next weekend’s (Sept. 2-7) NHRA U.S. Nationals, Erica Enders is back where she wants to be: leading the NHRA Pro Stock point standings.

  14. IndyCar championship winning scenarios for six finalists

    Aug 26, 2015, 6:06 PM EDT

    go pro indy car logo 2015

    Double the amount of base points, in addition to bonus points, could have a major impact on who emerges as the 2015 IndyCar Series champion Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.

  15. IndyCar: After Pocono DNFs from contact, mechanical failures, teams need to rebuild ahead of Sonoma

    Aug 26, 2015, 3:52 PM EDT

    pocono raceway logo

    This past Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway proved to be a very costly proposition for numerous teams.

  16. ABC Supply 500 post-event infractions, manufacturer championship points update

    Aug 26, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    INDYCAR announced on Wednesday several infractions and manufacturer championship points updates following this past Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.

  17. IndyCar flashback: Justin Wilson finishes second, Will Power/Scott Dixon controversy at Sonoma 2013 (video)

    Aug 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Day 2 Getty Images

    There will likely be heavy hearts, tears and a great deal of emotion at this weekend’s season-ending Go-Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma, as the mourning for driver Justin Wilson continues.

  18. Six remaining IndyCar championship contenders to be busy in the days leading up to big race at Sonoma

    Aug 26, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT

    indycar logo

    The six remaining Verizon IndyCar Series contenders will be pretty busy over the next few days prior to Sunday’s championship-deciding Go-Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

  19. Remembering Justin Wilson (VIDEO)

    Aug 25, 2015, 5:57 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Allmendinger, Castroneves, Diffey and more reflect on the life lived by Justin Wilson.

  20. WATCH LIVE: Justin Wilson remembered on Tuesday’s NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET, NBCSN

    Aug 25, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT

    Justin Wilson AP

    Tribute to Justin Wilson set to air on Tuesday night’s NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN.