Too many teams “throw money” at F1 – Haas

2015 F1 season

http://youtu.be/iKXtQ-HIf2E

Gene Haas says he intends to keep his F1 team’s spending under control by buying in as much technology as he can.

Haas told media in a press conference today he will make the most of recent rules changes and Haas Automation’s expertise to keep costs down.

“We have a budget, there’s a lot of unknowns in it,” he said. “We have budgets for what the engine packages will cost and those numbers are well known.”

“I think a lot of the exponential rise in costs is something that maybe was in the past. If you go back to say five or ten years ago where the rules were anything goes and exotic aero packages and exotic wind tunnels, these were the things that were driving the cost up, and then with the recession in 2008 things changed.

“Actually the rules have become much more favourable. There used to be maybe eight different suppliers of engines, you had every car manufacturer building for Formula One. There was no doubt they were spend 2-300 million dollars just to build an engine for a single car.

“Today there’s three current engine supplied and they’re required to make they’re engine packages available. We’re going to take advantage of those rules. We’re going to lean as heavily as we can on partners. Our job is not to reinvent the wheel. Our job is to race cars and win races.”

Haas admitted “I don’t exactly have the numbers” for the costs involved “but the numbers I’ve seen are reasonable”.

“Yes it’s expensive but I think that we’re going to have our own way of doing things,” he explained.

“Too many teams I think just go out there and throw money at it. We won’t be doing that, we’re not going to be throwing money at it. I think that myself and Guenther [Steiner], we both understand racing. We understand that typical businessmen going into this business simply say ‘well I just want the best’. The best doesn’t always mean the best for him it means the best for the guy that’s supplying him and how much money he can charge.

“We’re not going to be foolish like that, we’re going to spend our money wisely. We’ve going to do it with an American flair for design and efficiency and that’s how we’re going to control our costs.

“We’re not going to be a European-led team, we’re going to be an American-led team and we’re going to do it the way we think is most efficient. As a point, I’d like to point out Haas Automation builds machine tools in California, the most expensive state in the Union in terms of taxes, and we’re doing in a place that nobody thought you could build machine tools efficiently, and yet we do that. So we do have precedent in terms of making a good product at a very reasonable price and I would hope that going forward that I can put those same parameters to work in Formula One.

“A lot of people say it can’t be done. Like I say we do things that other people say can’t be done all the time. I’m not afraid of that and that’s something that I’m looking forward to, it’s one of the challenges of trying to run an elite racing team without spending billions of dollars.”

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80 comments on Too many teams “throw money” at F1 – Haas

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  1. Hoffy said on 14th April 2014, 19:18

    Seems to me like he’s saying “we’re doing it on the cheap”

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 14th April 2014, 19:29

      Seems to me he is saying “we’re doing it smart.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 14th April 2014, 19:42

        I hope he is being smart about it and proves it @hohum, but it might also turn out that there are reasons for throwing the money at it instead of taking the default component you can buy when talking about a prototype sort of car.

        Also, when talking about that partner, is he, for example, going to beat Ferrari using their technology? Not for long, that is for sure. He might put down equal hardware, and a more efficient team, but that will result in his hardware not remaining equal, or for an affordable price.

        In a way, look at Red Bull; they looked at other engines, knowing that Renault nor they had everything needed for the current regulations tip top okay, but they couldn’t move because they would have been a threat to Mercedes or Ferrari then. That’s one of the ways this might go wrong, and that is only the most positive one.

        Alternatively, Haas just doesn’t manage to get those standard components integrated well enough into a competitive package to make it count. And that is the much more likely case, as @Hairs alludes to as well.

      • Velocityboy (@velocityboy) said on 14th April 2014, 20:55

        And teams like Williams and Sauber haven’t thought of that, because they’re flush with money and love throwing it around. Please!! I hope he’s just talking, because if he really means it they may not go bankrupt but they’ll certainly trundle around the back of the field forever. You can’t beat the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull buying parts of the shelf or getting suppliers with no F1 experience to make your parts.

        • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 15th April 2014, 16:19

          They all talk about joining F1 to win races but that’s not going to happen and they know it. Their goal is to join F1 and beat Marussia or Caterham.

          Caterhama and Marissua (and HRT…) have shown how difficult it is in that they aren’t really much closer to the rest even after a few years experience and a major rule change!

          Joining and following in their footsteps is fairly pointless so they’ve got to try something different.

        • btcamp (@btcamp) said on 15th April 2014, 16:31

          @velocityboy “You can’t beat the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull buying parts of the shelf or getting suppliers with no F1 experience to make your parts.” oh, you can’t? do a quick search of ‘Garagistas’…

    • bertie (@bertie) said on 14th April 2014, 21:09

      Yup do it on the cheap with all the suppliers based in another continent…

  2. Hairs (@hairs) said on 14th April 2014, 19:19

    What’s the American for deja vu?

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 14th April 2014, 19:33

      “Deja vu again”

      • SteveH said on 14th April 2014, 21:06

        Interesting topic. In the States we quote Yogi Berra, who was a baseball team manager, on the deja vu thing:

        “This is like deja vu all over again.”

        and, to the point:

        “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

    • Sam (@) said on 14th April 2014, 20:14

      Darn diggety. Ain’t that Deejay Vuu, or whatever the frenchies be calling it.

      Sorry, I let myself go there.

    • grat said on 14th April 2014, 22:39

      By ‘deja vu’, are you referring to USF1, or All American Racers?

      USF1 was a decent organization, but had a bad lead designer (the boss’s son). They never finished the design of the car, so they never finished building it. Even so, they got fairly close.

      Now we have Circuit of the Americas, Indycar is adding standing-starts and road courses, NASCAR is even driving some road courses– It’s a good time for an American team, and a couple of very promising American drivers are coming up in GP2 right now (Daly and Rossi spring to mind).

      • mfreire75 said on 14th April 2014, 23:09

        The only road courses NASCAR has are Sonoma (Infineon) and Watkins Glen. There should be more road courses. All else are ovals. But yes, I too would like to see an American driver (Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi) do well in Formula One. It’s hard enough for an American driver these days to get sponsorship money for a European-based racing series, unless there is a real cowboy for an American company shareholder who has an interest in motor racing and to expand his company globally up against well established European companies within F1 (Santander, Emirates, etc.)

        • Nick (@grosjean0817) said on 15th April 2014, 2:24

          The Cup Series’ only road course races are Sonoma and Watkins Glen, but the Nationwide Series has races at Road America and Mid-Ohio, along with Watkins Glen. They have also raced at Montreal, Road Atlanta, and Mexico City recently. The Truck Series races at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, so road courses aren’t as foreign as you make it seem. The Cup Series should have more than two, but at least Indy Car gives plenty of drivers some good road course experience.

  3. Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 14th April 2014, 19:22

    Haas admitted “I don’t exactly have the numbers” for the costs involved “but the numbers I’ve seen are reasonable”.

    This worries me.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 14th April 2014, 19:32

      This is a man who already knows how much racing costs.

      • Hairs (@hairs) said on 14th April 2014, 19:35

        He knows how much American spec series racing costs, where many parts are similar to what you’d get off the shelf in a supplier.

        He clearly has no idea what parts cost to design and build, or how many of them need to be custom parts.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 14th April 2014, 21:34

        @hohum he has no idea what’s he’s doing. He’s actually doing what he says he won’t do: “throw money at F1″.

        Because, let’s face it. He doesn’t know the sport, he’s never designed his own racing car. He’s just another Vijay Mallya, but with the difference that he’s planning on starting his own team instead of buying a established one. And from America. And at a time when newcomers have it VERY hard. And at a time of major change in the sport… and with little time for preparation…

        I’ll see it as a sucess once I see them on the track. In the meantime, it’s a No-No from me.

        • American F1 said on 15th April 2014, 15:32

          Clearly you don’t know much about Gene Haas. Look up Haas Automation and the Wind Shear wind tunnel. Seems to me he is uniquely suited to create a successful F1 team.

  4. HoHum (@hohum) said on 14th April 2014, 19:28

    Well done Gene Haas, if only Australian entrepreneurs looked at manufacturing in Australia with that atitude rather than complaining about Australias higher wages. Mr Haas may fail as so many others before him have but I suspect he will do better than most.

    • justrhysism said on 15th April 2014, 5:23

      This.

    • Jimbo Hull (@kartingjimbo) said on 15th April 2014, 9:07

      I have to go along with the above. I’m seeing a lot of people slating the potential efforts of this man and his team, it may be all talk but it’s the most enthusiasm I’ve seen in years. He’s obviously not just a dude with a lot of money to just throw about and no racing knowledge, sounds to me like the best chance of a new mildly successful new team.

      Wish everyone would give it a break on the doom and gloom for a change, this is a breath of fresh air compared to the last few months of up and down news. When the guy who’s pumping in the money shares the same racing interests as the future efforts of his staff then he’s already miles ahead of some of the out of touch chumps in the background of some of today’s teams. He has a legit business and sporting reason for entering, let’s hope the former doesn’t over rule the latter to early on.

  5. reiter (@reiter) said on 14th April 2014, 19:30

    This seems like a really interesting prospect for the coming years. I wish them all the best luck.

  6. Jorge Lardone (@jorge-lardone) said on 14th April 2014, 19:34

    I see in these statements the typical American arrogance forever. An arrogance that, however, it has not helped them excel in the world of Formula 1 the highest level of motorsport.

    • Dave T (@davetea) said on 14th April 2014, 21:07

      We know a thing or two about road racing over here, its not all NASCAR, but nobody with the financial means and racing knowledge has had much of an incentive to start a F1 team in recent years. You can bet that if Gene has gone this far he will commit 100% to building a team capable of competing with the big boys but its going to take a season or two.

    • grat said on 14th April 2014, 22:45

      And of course, there’s no arrogance in dismissing out-of-hand someone with a proven track record in both building a business from scratch to a dominant global position, and building a successful NASCAR team. He’s a good businessman with a solid understanding of racing. That puts him ahead of Branson (gone) and Fernandes (going), easily.

      If, as I suspect, he also knows what he doesn’t know, his F1 team should easily break into the top 10 by the second season.

  7. Lucien_Todutz (@lucien_todutz) said on 14th April 2014, 19:37

    Great to see new teams on the grid! It’s beneficial for F1 :) But if your not content in spending “the right amount” of money to be in the game and to be competitive, you better stay in stock car competitions.

  8. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 14th April 2014, 19:40

    This guy already sounds like a character, perhaps F1 has missed somebody like him for a while now..?

  9. Tiago Sá said on 14th April 2014, 19:52

    I like their attitude, but attitude alone won’t get them anywhere. USF1 had a nice attitude too. Lotus F1 had a nice attitude too. Sauber. Williams.

    Force India, though, they don’t have that nice an attitude, they don’t really shout about what they’re doing or how they’re going about it. But they’re second in the championship at the moment…

  10. As an American I would love to believe in this. However, the odds are stacked so high against any new entrant to the F1 scene. But I feel much less optimistic to hear that his strategy is basically:

    (1) “[W]e’re not going to be throwing money at it” – in other words, do it much cheaper than the big teams; the only chance of making a meaningful impression on the sport as a newcomer is to throw very large amounts of money at it; the odds are so stacked against any newcomer with no history or institutional expertise directly relevant to F1 that spending more than the established players is the only way to catch up. If you just want to be a backmarker and treat your F1 project as a loss-maker getting you some exposure but not any credibility as a race outfit, then fine. This approach could do that, although it will be very expensive and inefficient as a marketing strategy.
    (2) “We’re not going to be foolish” – whenever you hear someone pinnning their strategy on avoiding stupid decisions, you should be worried. All of the existing teams are extremely smart and have a lot of relevant experience and knowledge. They don’t do things foolishly. If you really think it is going to be that easy, that you can come in and show that you are smarter than everyone else, then you are going to be in for a rude awakening.
    (3) “We’ve going to do it with an American flair for design and efficiency” – oh dear…he probably really means it too. A little more humility would be good.

    • grat said on 14th April 2014, 22:52

      1) “Not throwing money at “: He’a already got a head start– he’s got access to Windshear (duh, he owns it), he’s got access to some of the best CNC tools out there (his own, which can be written off as “marketing”), and I suspect he’ll spend money on what will win races– don’t expect the Red Bull (or McLaren) Hospitality Center, or a large glitzy showcase team HQ, and he’ll probably hire young designers who have something to prove (but can be hired cheaply).
      2) “not being foolish”: Good advice for any company, hard to follow. Certainly F1 is littered with foolish decisions, such as hiring Maldanado.
      3) “American flair for design and efficiency”: yeah, he probably does mean it. Look up the history of the Haas CNC equipment. If he applies those principles to his race team, good for him.

  11. Robert McKay said on 14th April 2014, 20:04

    I’m sure they can do it cheap. But I’m sure that will also mean uncompetitive. The thing with buying in stuff is you get what you pay for.

    I doubt many of the F1 teams like to throw money at the sport for the hell of it. A few of the front runners probably have the money to burn, but most of them, no. Not for a good few years now.

    I’m not saying it can’t be done, but if he thinks that the bulk of F1 isn’t already trying to do it, I think he’s in for a surprise.

  12. Bookoi (@bookoi) said on 14th April 2014, 20:06

    Sounds like he’s yet to make up his mind which customer car he’s hoping to use.

  13. Ronald Swift said on 14th April 2014, 20:17

    I think if they do it right and recruit properly and do it genuinely American the team could be a very strong runner. I don’t think it will happen over night but give it 5 years and it certainly is possible.

  14. Dave T (@davetea) said on 14th April 2014, 20:57

    After reading quite a few of Gene’s comments it seems he is taking a very reasonable approach to get going. Like he has said the logistics and all of the small details that you only learn over time is his concern so they want to get on track as soon as possible to start gathering knowledge. Buying as much as you can while staying withing the regulations instead of manufacturing everything is a good move to get that done. Why spend millions on design, tooling, and manufacturing when your initial goal is just to get on the track? This guy knows racing and has deep pockets, who knows if they will be successful, but you can bet they will certainly make a good run at it.

  15. Andrei (@crandreico) said on 14th April 2014, 21:44

    Oh boy, they’re getting into the wolf’s mouth. If he thinks that he can come here, seeking the kind of success like scoring points and who might now, even podiums from time to time, just by going cheap, building something like a spec car… I’ll just wait and see how many dozens of millions he throws away before he marches the same way he came. It might be feasable, but oh boy…. not particularly easy in these days.

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