Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says they have committed to remaining in Formula 1 because they expect the budget cap will create a more level playing field.Romain Grosjean referred to doubt over whether the team would remain in F1 as the “elephant in the room”.
However Haas joined F1’s other nine teams in committing to the sport by signing the new Concorde Agreement which sets down the commercial arrangement between them, the championship and its governing body. The signing of the new agreement was announced last week.
“I guess Gene looked at it and Formula 1 is still a very good tool for getting his brand name, Haas Automation, out in the world,” said Steiner. “It works – otherwise he wouldn’t be doing it.
“He loves the sport as well. Even if it is a big financial commitment, with the new regulations coming in it should make the playing field more even and the commercial aspects better for the smaller teams so as a result he has decided to continue.
“For me it means, even at the moment when we’re not running competitively, we’ve got a Formula 1 team which works and that’s more down to the team than to me. I’m part of the team though, we all work together, and in the end, Gene believes in the team. Everybody is, for sure, happy to be moving forward now with the agreement signed.”
Steiner is optimistic the changes to the sport’s financial arrangements, which includes a fairer distribution of prize money between competitors and the introduction of a budget cap, will gradually reduce the disparity between the top teams and smaller outfits like Haas.
“The budget cap should level the playing field, it will level the playing field,” said Steiner. “Maybe not in the first year, but in the mid-term for sure. The payments, to make it more equal, will also mean the smaller teams get a little more revenue.
“It’s never enough for the small teams, by the way, but it levels the field and that should be the aim of a sport – any day, anybody can win. It’ll take a while until that happens but for Formula 1 it’s a big step in the right direction.
“Times change and I think Liberty did a great job in adapting to those times and making changes when it was needed. It was needed a few years ago, but it’s better late than never.”
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