Gene Haas is determined and striving to create the first successful United States-based Formula One organization – and on Monday afternoon during a press conference he expressed the lengths he’d take to prove critics wrong.
“There’s going to be a lot of people following us from that skepticism to see if, ‘these guys are going to fail or not?’” Haas commented. “I’m sure that most people are betting that we do fail.
“That is why it is going to be successful because if we don’t fail, then we have done something other people haven’t.”
Haas, who’s a part-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), received approval of his request to form a Formula One team this past week. The, what most people consider outrageous, decision comes during a time period in which F1 is dominated by European franchises, not Americans, however, Haas is the least concerned about that.
“We’re not going to be an European-led team.” Haas explained during the conference. “We’re going to be an American-led team, and we’re going to do it the way we think is the most efficient.”
“We’re going to spend our money wisely, we’re going to do it with an American flair for design and efficiencies, and that’s how we’re going to control our costs.”
Haas, 61, explained that Tony Stewart, part-owner of SHR, will have no involvement in the team, now named, Hass Formula. He also eluded that it’s unlikely any SHR drivers will join the newly introduced team.
“What we would like would be to have an experienced Formula One driver, probably someone who is familiar with the current engine package rules (because) they change quite a bit even from last year,” Haas further explained about the driver situation. “Going forward, we certainly would like to have a young American driver. That would be the ideal situation.
“But at the moment, we haven’t really narrowed it down. We have had quite a few people talk to us.”
Guenther Steiner, former Formula One team executive, will be the new team principle for Haas – and the offices and shop will be orchestrated in Kannapolis, North Carolina, around SHR’s location.
Haas’ team will be required, by the FIA, to compete in at least two seasons, and will be expected to compete until the 2020 season.
The debut of the team is unknown, however, Haas believes it’ll be a challenge to have the full setup by 2015, but he didn’t rule it out.
“I would like to (be racing by) 2015 simply because I think the first year is going to be a difficult year no matter what happens,” Haas said. “It is a very big challenge. Part of that learning curve is just simply getting to the track and sorting out the logistics of going race to race.
Haas, owner of the multi-million dollar company Haas Automation, isn’t concerned necessarily with the cost of beginning the operation; he’s actually hoping to reveal his company worldwide, not just locally in the United States.
“Every week it goes up by another billion,” Haas said. “We have a budget and there’s a lot of unknowns in it. … The numbers I’ve seen are reasonable.”
“My basic goal is to change Haas Automation from just a machine tool builder into a premium brand,” Haas said. “I think Formula One can provide that, especially in the overseas markets. There are a lot of fans from China to South America to Europe to Eastern Europe to Japan to Malaysia that we really want to become a household name in.”
“That really is the ultimate goal, to take the image of Haas Automation and turn it into a brand that is desired and known throughout the world. The ultimate goal would be to double our sales for Haas Automation.”
Haas is obviously imagining limitless goals for his team, and he’s hoping to silence doubters by becoming a well-run, and long lasting, American Formula One team.
“I think we can beat the Europeans at their own game.”