- Haas Formula
Haas: US-based team can succeed
Gene Haas admitted he is convinced a US-based team can succeed in Formula One and stated his determination to end the notion it is a series too "advanced" for an American entry.
Haas unveiled plans for 'Haas Formula' on Monday in North Carolina, where the F1 team is likely to be based at the Stewart-Haas NASCAR team's headquarters. It remains unclear whether Haas will join the F1 grid in 2015 or 2016 but he insisted he is not daunted by the prospect of ending the absence of American representation in the sport.
"Things have changed a lot since the last Americans have been involved in there," Haas said. "I think you get the impression that sometimes people think that the European way of racing is so much more advanced than the Americans. But we're the most advanced country on the planet, so I can't imagine why we can't do this."
At the Monday conference Haas confirmed his team principal will be Guenther Steiner, and that the team is in preliminary talks with Italian company Dallara about a chassis, while adding the "only engine suppliers available at the moment" would be Mercedes or Ferrari. But he is determined not to rely solely on technical partners for his entry.
"At the same time, we want to learn. We're not going to go over there and say build us a chassis. We intend to put our own people in there to learn these processes, because ultimately our goal is to become a constructor. That is our goal of Formula 1 is to have a driver's series and a constructors series…. But as time goes on, we'll learn. We'll figure it out. The car will eventually evolve into our own car, and quite frankly, I think we can beat the Europeans at their own game."
The last American to drive in Formula One was Scott Speed in 2007 and Haas is planning to end that drought with his new team, with his preference being for a young driver, though he conceded it may not happen for its first season.
"Ideally, what I think we'd like would be to have an experienced Formula 1 driver. Probably someone who is familiar with the current engine package rules. They change quite a bit even from last year. Then going forward we'd certainly like to have a young American driver. That would be the ideal situation."
Despite having just a nine-month turnaround to get a team built from the ground up, Haas is still aiming to make it to the grid in time for the 2015 season.
"Well, I'd like to do 2015, simply because I think the first year's going to be a difficult year no matter what happens. It's a very big challenge, and like I say, part of that learning curve is just simply getting to the track and sorting out the logistics of going from race to race. The sooner we learn that, the sooner we'll be done with that."
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