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Haas could defer F1 entry until 2016

15 Apr 2014

Gene Haas could postpone debuting his planned American Formula One team until the 2016 season, with a final decision to be made “within weeks”. The NASCAR team owner had an application to enter the F1 world championship accepted by governing body the FIA last week.

“The FIA has told us we have to elect which year we want to participate,” Haas explained, “with a timetable around June.

“I think 2015 is too close and 2016 is too far. If we wait we’ll end up spending even more money because we’ll just be in a neutral position. We need to come up with a plan where we can arrive with a car, based on our partners’ technology, within the rules of the FIA.”

Speaking in a live online press conference, Haas also confirmed Gunther Steiner as team principal of his new enterprise. Steiner has previously worked in Formula One racing for Jaguar and later for Red Bull, where he was appointed technical director ahead of the team’s debut season in 2005.

“We need to define our technical partners and then go from there,” Steiner said of the team’s entry plans. “We will announce in six to eight weeks what we are doing. We want to make the right decision; we don’t want to jump and say ‘wow, we got this wrong’ and fail.

“We have an option to start in 2016, so we will speak with people and make a qualified decision.”

Haas stressed that he sees entering Formula One racing as a gradual learning process, and that an entry would be based upon working with several technical partners in the formative stages, with Haas potentially taking more in-house over time.

“The challenge in my mind is getting to that first race and competing,” he said. “It would be insurmountable to do everything ourselves. We will have to compromise what we do in terms of construction of the car - we will have to try and acquire what we can.

Dallara are being eyed as potential chassis suppliers, and Steiner revealed there had been talks with Ferrari and Mercedes over engines.

“I don’t think our car is going to be entirely a Haas Formula - it will be based on technology from our partners to begin with - but as time goes on we will learn and evolve,” added Haas. “Ultimately our goal is to be a constructor.”