Haas to base new F1 team in America

2015 F1 season

Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas, Martinsville, 2014Gene Haas says his Formula One team will be based in a new building on the site of his NASCAR team in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

Speaking at a press conference today Haas said “what we’re going to do is take a portion of the building, that will be the Formula One headquarters right here in Kannapolis”.

“That’s the first thing we’re working on, matter of fact they’re just putting the roof on the building now. So we figure that’s another few months away.”

Former Red Bull and Jaguar technical director Guenther Steiner, who is also involved in the project, said the team decided against basing its operations in Europe:

“Obviously we have looked to do this but then again we back – we are a North American team. We didn’t want to take that route.

“We made up a plan that we do it ourselves but not completely on our own. We will have partners which we will work in Europe with. To buy a current team, it didn’t fit what we wanted to do because the base needs to be United States.”

Haas said the next step for the team will be choosing an engine supplier.

“The next thing to do is sit down and have some very serious negotiations with our partners. There’s currently three engine suppliers for Formula One – Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari – so we have to narrow down the partner we’re going to work with.

“And that’s a very important part of it, figuring out who can provide us with the technical expertise that we’re going to need.

“We’re going to do something very similar that we did in NASCAR, which is partner say like with a Hendrick Motorsports where we can rely on them for a lot of technical expertise. Because let’s face it, we’re new at this, there’s going to be a long learning curve.

“To sit there and say that we can understand what’s going on with these cars in a year or two is not reasonable. It’s going to take us a while to learn and we’re going to lean heavily on a technical partner to help us.”

Haas said his motivation in setting up a new Formula One team was to promote his machine tool company Haas Automation.

“My basic goal here is to change Haas Automation from just a machine tool builder into a premium brand and I think Formula One will provide that, especially in overseas markets,” he explained.

“There’s a lot of fans from China to South America to Europe to Eastern Europe, to Asia, Japan and Malaysia that we really want to become a household name in. I think that the same techniques that we’ve achieved in NASCAR as far as selling machine tools, we have very good market penetration in the United States, associating the Haas brand with Formula One I think will launch us into a premium brand.

“That really is the ultimate goal, to take the image of Haas Automation and turn it into a brand that is desired and high quality and known throughout the world. The ultimate goal would be to double our sales for Haas Automation.”

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31 comments on Haas to base new F1 team in America

  1. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 14th April 2014, 18:12

    Well, if they are successful with a team, which has headquarters outside Europe, then hats off to them. Maybe it’s not the most logical decision, but if they’re really serious with this project, they can be successful.

  2. trotter said on 14th April 2014, 18:22

    Aaaaand, there goes their F1 adventure… It’s hard enough to find people willing to move to Italy, and they already have a bunch of F1 related people there. Now, they are going to be based in USA, where they don’t even have a core to start with.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 14th April 2014, 18:25

      People often find Italy difficult because of the language and culture, though. If you start waving USD around in Milton Keynes, I’m sure British people will be ready to bring some F1 knowledge to the US. Not to mention, it’s not like the people of the US can’t learn or have a lot of people working in motorsport.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 14th April 2014, 18:39

      It could work – all the Indy teams are US-based, with the Dallara chassis coming from Italy

      • Victorinox said on 15th April 2014, 19:53

        The Dallara chasis was designed in Italy, but it is built @ Dallara’s facility in Indianapolis

    • SoerenKaae (@soerenkaae) said on 15th April 2014, 9:40

      Remember that the population of USA is about 350 million. They have plenty of technical talent to choose from, that they dont need a great many europeans to start up their team.

    • Victorinox said on 15th April 2014, 19:56

      Come one, even Newey lived in the U.S. for a while when working on Indycars. Plus there are a lot of capable people in the U.S., that are not involved in F1 until now simply because the money is not there. If you can build a financially competent team they will have plenty of talent to choose from.

  3. Nick (@npf1) said on 14th April 2014, 18:23

    If Dallara ends up developing their car, I wouldn’t be surprised if the headquarters are in the US, but the body parts end up being built in Europe. With F1 as it is in 2014, I see little reason to not attempt an F1 team outside of Europe, especially in a country like the US or Japan. However, logistics will play a big part in this. Not just for shipping complete cars, also for parts.

    If anything I’m a little let down by some of the F1 journalists I follow on Twitter, who instantly took Haas’ patriotism for ‘American arrogance’. For crying out loud, they are the largest economy and have an amazing percentage of tech’s leading companies. If I would base my F1 team out of Europe, it would probably be in the US as well.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 14th April 2014, 19:58

      Correct, there are a lot of racecar builders in that area and a lot of savvy engineers. On top of that it’s their home base, they know the strengths and weakness’ of local engineering works and where to find expertise and materials locally.

    • Victorinox said on 15th April 2014, 20:04

      I agree. Also, it brings more credibility to the “World Constructor’s Champion” moniker F-1 team use, given that today only 2 teams are not based in the UK. It is ridiculous to see “Austrian”, “German”, “Indian”, “Malaysian” and “Russian” teams based in the same 100 mile radius in the UK. Those are essentially British teams.

  4. Chris said on 14th April 2014, 18:33

    Pound to a penny he signs Danica Patrick as reserve, if not starting driver. Imagine the Subway marketing opportunities.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 14th April 2014, 18:43

      Subway wants to build its brand in Europe, where we’re not that familiar with Danica.

      Their PR guy mentioned Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso racing to the Subway to get there first. Who knows, we might see Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg advertise the Subway diet!

      • Chris said on 14th April 2014, 19:37

        I don’t think people need to be familiar with her for her to have marketing appeal!

        • Nick (@npf1) said on 14th April 2014, 23:14

          I think Suzie Wolff would pretty much sign away any credibility if she ever did commercials like the GoDaddy ones Danica has done. We treat our athletes a little different here. Though I’m not sure convincing them they can act is that much better than objectifying them.

  5. timi (@timi) said on 14th April 2014, 18:34

    Good news for US jobseekers. The naysayers can harp on about not being based in Europe, but some things are more important. The fact he’s bringing more jobs to his country is great, and should be used as an example for business-owners the world over. You go Haas

  6. Kisii said on 14th April 2014, 18:58

    There are cheaper ways of promoting Haas Automation as a premium brand rather than going F1 racing…and think about it, you are sticking your machine tooling brand on a car that will be bringing up the rear for a while, not the best showing for your company I would think. In my opinion, most people get into F1 because of a long standing allure…and because they are ready to lose a pile of money for a period of time and not sweat it. If they are okay with being lapped by half the field for the next 5 years in F1 and barely getting screen time (its not like Nascar where you can fit most cars in the race in one shot) and constantly finishing out of the points and still be thrilled with the whole thing, then I say go for it. F1 is brutal.

  7. laptopracer (@laptopracer) said on 14th April 2014, 19:50

    Two words Ross Brawn! It would be great if they get someone of his experience to come and help them out for a few years to establish the groundwork for the future.

  8. AmbroseRPM said on 14th April 2014, 21:47

    Bob Bell ?

  9. maarten.f1 (@maarten-f1) said on 14th April 2014, 22:30

    I hope for him this is the right decision. However, one needs to keep in mind that still half of the season is spent in Europe. For the UK based teams logistics is much less of a problem (and not to mention, cheaper) than having to travel back and forth between the circuits and the US.

    It’s quite an ambitious project. To start a team from the ground up, base it outside of Europe and be ready for next season (unless he’s going down the 2016 route, which probably makes more sense).

  10. kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 14th April 2014, 23:38

    There goes this dream then. Something tells me Gene thinks this is a bit like starting up an Indycar team. He is in for a big shock!

  11. StephenH said on 14th April 2014, 23:42

    Ross Brawn is available,
    Bob Bell is available,
    Stefano Donemicalli is [now] available,

    Three people who have vast expereince in the sport, have proven credentials, and of whom have recently left thier teams because of what is likely to be political reasons and therefore have good motive to want to put one over the commercial gaonts of the sport with a new project. Those thress could easily form the spine of that team. Even if they are based in the USA they could set up a design office in the UK pretty much like Penske still do I believe.

    Deferring to 2106 could allow them to get the mooted Ford power units, or they could be Honda’s second team as I beleive their return mandates.

    Haas F1 could be the shot in the arm and the breath of fresh air that F1 needs right now. Otherwise it will give more ammunition to the sport’s American detractors.

  12. Well there goes another doomed F1 attempt. While it is brazen and jingoistic to talk of a US base, the smart money would have only the non-tech tasks done here, like livery design, PR and marketing, and accounting. Not a good idea to try to bring the mountain to Mohammed.

  13. Jim Hall is available too..

  14. GB (@bgp001ruled) said on 15th April 2014, 3:56

    wouldnt it be easier for teams like haas to make a team in say GP2 first and then climb up to F1? why arent GP2 teams attracted to be F1 teams, I imagine it would be a lot easier than starting from scratch…

  15. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 15th April 2014, 12:58

    Disaster. Pretty much everything in the US is a cost controlled spec series. They just don’t build bleeding edge prototypes year in year out like in F1. They don’t have the experienced aerodynamics people for something as complex as a competitive F1 car and why would well paid and sought after European personnel uproot their whole family to go to one of the poorest regions in the US?

    Marussia and Caterham are based in F1 central and they have yet to bust out of the back of the grid despite being in their fifth year of trying. Build the parts in the States if you must but for goodness sake you simply have to do your R&D + logistics from Europe.

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