Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas, Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR, 2014

NASCAR experience will help F1 entry – Haas

2016 F1 season

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Gene Haas says his experience of entering NASCAR has helped him team prepare for its Formula One debut in 2016.

After announcing Romain Grosjean as the team’s lead driver for its maiden F1 season, the Haas team owner described what he had learned from his team’s arrival in NASCAR.

“The main ingredient is just stubbornness, not giving up and just keeping your head pointed forward and just taking your licks as you go,” said Haas.

“NASCAR was certainly difficult, we spent five or six years in NASCAR and we were always in the back and it was a pretty gruelling, tough experience. I can sympathise with a lot of the guys that run at the back, just how hard that is.”

“We were one of the fortunate teams: Joe Custer put together a deal with Tony Stewart and that became Stewart-Haas Racing and I think in our first season we started winning races. So that was a real eye-opener. It takes the right people to make things happen, the same thing with Formula One.”

Bernie Ecclestone, Singapore, 2014
Ecclestone “almost dissuades you from wanting to start”
Haas said Bernie Ecclestone initially tried to put him off the idea of setting up an F1 team.

“When we first started out initially, [technical director] Guenther [Steiner] took me to Austin and I met Bernie Ecclestone and that was a real eye-opener there too because he’s the Godfather of Formula One and you get to meet him.”

“He’s a pretty coy person, it’s kind of like he almost dissuades you from wanting to start this business because he’s seen so many people attempt it and failures. But like anything else we kept banging away at it and I think it was a couple of years later he finally said ‘look, if you’re really serious about this, we’ll make a tender for you’. He had to open it up to various teams but for the whole process it really comes down to selecting the right people, taking your time, trying to analyse things, then adapting to what you learn.”

The team will rely on Ferrari for power units and other significant components, which Haas said sets them apart from other recent new entries into F1 and current F1 teams. “Our whole direction now has gone a little bit different than I suppose to what the other teams are,” he said.

“The other teams are looking at being a primary constructor, we’re trying to just basically use as much as we can from our partners. I think that’s the main difference between us and other ones, it’s really going to be a difference in the way we run our team.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “NASCAR experience will help F1 entry – Haas”

    1. He made a tender for them? So the tender was opened but they really knew who would win? Hmmm…

    2. The announcement made Fox Sports 1’s bottom line today in the USA which is a bit of a surprise. Too bad they identified the Haas NASCAR team as Newman-Haas.

    3. The team will rely on Ferrari for power units and other significant components, which Haas said sets them apart from other recent new entries into F1 and current F1 teams.

      I don’t know if I read it wrong, but each time he mentioned that collaboration, he seemed like he was proud of his “achievement”, when in fact, if anything, it’s one more reason why I have less respect for them than for other teams.

      That said, it’s the early years, and it’s better to ease yourself into a new world and then proceed to make more and more things in-house. So in that regard, I’d agree that it might be a safer way to go. It’s just that he seems a bit proud of not making the whole car and that seems a bit weird…

      1. Good points. Yet, collaboration aside, it will be a major surprise if they even get out of the garage at the first test, let alone complete any laps.

        1. Haas has also competed in indycar/champcar and won championships, so i think they know what they are doing. Of course it won’t be easy, but i suspect they will race in the middle of the field and fight sauber at the end of the year.

          1. The Haas of IndyCar fame is Carl Haas, an entirely different and unrelated person to Gene Haas.

        2. The whole back end of the car is borrowed from Ferrari, if they can get out of the garage as they did in the last 65 years of F1, Haas F1 team can too…

        3. Thar car will drive alright. The big question is how fast will it be…

      2. It’s just that he seems a bit proud of not making the whole car and that seems a bit weird…

        You already pointed out why it was safe (read: smart) to do it, so there’s your reason why he’s proud: he did a very smart move to catch up and compensate for decades of lack of F1 experience instead of throwing money like Manor and Catterham (little money) or Toyota and Honda (lots of it).

    4. The way of the future. Buy the bits the fans don’t care about (why do we bespoke gearboxes and other myriad parts on these cars, ensuring they cost a quadrillion dollars to design and build), hire the people you need, try to win races.

      Otherwise, F1 is based on the space-race model rather than a sustainable model.

      1. I think most people don’t fully realize the amount of parts that are developed by third parties and then bought instead of being developed in-house.

        1. Yep. Even those bespoke gearboxes are a relatively recent phenomenon. Way back, it was all Hewland, ZF, and Colotti. I’ve no objection to bought-in parts. It’s buying them from another team that bothers me slightly.

          Having said that, I still rather like the idea of allowing customer chassis, provided no two teams run the same combination of chassis and PU. I think that could work. The problem I have with Haas is that it’s uncomfortably close to full-on customer cars. How much Ferrari is in that Dallara chassis? If they were running an openly Ferrari chassis, but with a Renault or Mercedes in the back, I think I’d mind less. Or the Ferrari PU in a Williams chassis. But this seems… I dunno… “underhanded” is far too strong a word, but seems to be bending the spirit of the rules to me.

          But I suspect they’re probably right about racing experience – regardless of the category – giving an advantage. After all, out of all the recent new entrants, which one is still standing, even if only barely? And Manor didn’t have as good a start as Haas will.

    5. Someone needs to tell Haas the cars must also turn right!

    6. Most tracks are clockwise unlike Nascar.

      1. The red necks do turn right a few times a year

    7. Gene Haas will have a decent car and team right away as he’s got extensive racing experience not only himself, but he has the right people to get the job done. They will be one of the better F1 startups of the past 20-30 years.

    8. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      5th October 2015, 7:01

      it is so unfair to compare haas with the other teams that started a journey in F1 in recent years! first of all: they all were FORCED to use the crappy cosworth engine! this team is getting ferrari from the get go! unfair!
      F1 is not nascar: they will fail miserably! and they deserve it. they think that just showing up will make them contenders for the midfield. it should not be that easy and luckilly I dont think it is going to be so! they will learn that the hard way! two years and they should quit…

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