Too many teams “throw money” at F1 – Haas

2015 F1 season

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

  1. Baron (@baron) said on 14th April 2014, 21:49

    Either he’s not telling us or he hasn’t yet done a deal but surely he will have had to nail down his power train provider already? It won’t be long before he has to shell out several million for his 2015 entry fees and nobody would want to do that without knowing who your engine partner would be?

    My money is on Ferrari. If (and it’s a big IF) the a Prancing Horse can get its act together I could see the prospect of a partnership in North America very attractive to the Red brigade.

  2. I think money is not what will bring performance look at McLaren & Ferrari… what matters is ticking the right boxes in an efficient way. More like Force India & RBR you stick to a good design & keep evolving it.

  3. Le Jimster (@lejimster82) said on 14th April 2014, 22:49

    I think this guy is incredibly naive, if he thinks he can build a team from scratch and be competing at the highest level and winning races, just like “that”.

    They need to be building and designing everything themselves. And even then, if they hired the best engineers.. It could take 5 years to make a race winning car.

    I would love to be proven wrong, but I think he’s going to have his eyes opened in a big way when they find themselves struggling to even make it to testing.

    • kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 14th April 2014, 23:45

      Absolutely agree. I do love the almost arrogant self belief embedded within the American culture……It works well sometimes, but it certainly wont work in F1.
      He is getting ready for an eye opener; and he will NOT like what he sees.

    • Tomcat173 (@tomcat173) said on 15th April 2014, 0:09

      @lejimster82 I agree too. Surely Haas knows that his team will spend the next 5 years circling at the back of the grid, competing with Marussia and Caterham. Thats assuming his team lasts 5 years! You think about teams like Honda failing after years and years of investment.. somehow he’s going to do better?!

      I presume we’ll want to buy the Mercedes powertrain given the current performance levels, but even then he’ll struggle to get into the midfield quickly.

    • pastaman (@pastaman) said on 15th April 2014, 13:17

      Um, he doesn’t believe they will be winning races just like “that”. Maybe listen to the interview…

  4. Richly said on 14th April 2014, 22:51

    F1 is more than a sport, it is a business. It requires a major investment in development, design, facility, the team , and the business structure. It isn’t like Indy Car, where you can purchase a spec chassis and engine and go racing. The investment is to evolve the team over years, and sponsor money alone isn’t enough, just ask all the guys who tried and failed. Mr. Haas is probably a great business man and racing guy, but F1 requires something from the sole, and a whole lot more. And even then you aren’t guaranteed any level of success.

  5. Meander (@meander) said on 14th April 2014, 23:19

    I know he’s busy showing confidence and eagerness and probably doesn’t mean to, but he’s subtly offending “Europeans” (whoever they exactly may be) who apparently A. Just throw money at things to get them going, B. Don’t know about efficiently running a business or team, and C. Are not accustomed to make things work against the odds which gives them (Haas) an edge.

    I think he’ll need all the European friends he can get to get his finances and team working so he may want to be careful with statements such as those.

    That said, I do think this guy knows a thing or two about racing and I’m really glad to see (hopefully) at least one new team make the grid next year. I’m always a supporter of the underdogs, so I’ll probably be cheering them on as well.

    • The Abbinator (@abbinator) said on 18th April 2014, 19:43

      I hope they do well, but it does all seem like too much naïveté and not enough humility… I’m half American and I really cringed at the “we’re the most advanced country in the world” line…

  6. Banburyhammer (@banburyhammer) said on 14th April 2014, 23:35

    Sounds like a recipe for mediocrity – buying in technology will mean that he will be at the mercy of the suppliers, weve seen just such an example with Mercedes turbo packaging. None of the customer teams got wind early enough to really make use of it.

    You add that attitude to the other major components, and youre boxing yourself in to the maximum performance that your suppliers will allow you to achieve.

  7. kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 14th April 2014, 23:42

    If there is anything the Americans are NOT good at, it is efficiency. C’mon, they actually thought the Hummer was a decent truck!!

  8. StephenH said on 14th April 2014, 23:43

    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.

    • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 15th April 2014, 0:18

      Deferring to 2106

      They’ve got their entry in early then…

      Jokes aside I think a Ford partnership is a realistic prospect. Two American companies working together, exclusively as the Ford works team, rather than having Ferrari engines where there would be little in terms of a relationship between the two, wouldn’t be a bad move, surely? Even if it is a bit down on power, it would surely make financial sense to have a works deal if it’s on the table…

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 15th April 2014, 3:43

        How about Chrysler power in F1, coincidentally identical to Ferarri but with underdog appeal.

      • Le Jimster (@lejimster82) said on 15th April 2014, 10:12

        I wouldn’t mind seeing Ford return to F1, but any new engine supplier is going to be seriously behind on performance and reliability if this year is anything to go by. It would be more sensible to go with Mercedes if the option is available to them.

    • JackJ said on 16th April 2014, 8:39

      Bring in Brawn and Honda. That might actually work.

  9. GB (@bgp001ruled) said on 15th April 2014, 4:38

    after reading this I can only say: this guy is completely delusional. completelly out of touch with reallity. doesnt understand F1, has no idea of what it takes to develop a car, what it costs, and thinks F1 is nascar. they wont make it to the grid and he needs a reallity check…

  10. Spencer (@spencer) said on 15th April 2014, 4:54

    One only has to look at the core competencies of the man undertaking this project to have some level of confidence in it’s success. Specialized construction of a niche product is what manufacturing an F1 car amounts to, and I would think that most most agree that Mr. Haas possesses these skills in spades. Far more so than drinks purveyors or Russian oligarchs. For those questioning the viability of subcontracting much of the process, turn to the recent McLaren road car projects as a high water mark in this area. A car fashinoned from a Ricardo engine (based off a 15 year old Nissan LeMans Design) and a Graziano DCT give a away very little to Maranello’s best. Most of the current teams outsource much of their specialized design and manufacture. It is simply naive at this point to say that it is not the de facto standard in modern engineering and production to lean on suppliers for input. I think Mr. Haas is just being more candid than others in this regard.

  11. Peter Scandlyn (@peter-scandlyn) said on 15th April 2014, 5:40

    Well it’s going to be interesting that’s for sure.
    Some of his answers really make me wonder. Having said that why shouldn’t he play his cards close?

  12. Bazza Spock (@bazza-spock) said on 15th April 2014, 7:36

    Good grief there’s a lot of negativity in this thread. You realise that if you’re saying that someone like Haas has no hope of succeeding in F1 then you’re also saying it’s a closed book — F1 is doomed.
    I’m sure plenty of people said the drinks company would never make it a few years back too.

    • GB (@bgp001ruled) said on 15th April 2014, 7:43

      caterham and marussia are just surviving. stablished teams like lotus and sauber, too. an this guy thinks he just sticks a PU into a chassis and he will be racing for wins! he also implies all teams are idiots that throw away money just for fun. he is deeply mistaken!

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 15th April 2014, 8:21

      Sadly, that’s actually probably accurate. F1 is dead to new competitors, and using it as a marketing tool is also apparently dead, based on McLaren’s inability to attract a sponsor.

      The drinks company managed to get Adrian Newey and, though we didn’t know it at the time, one of the best team principals in years. They took over an existing outfit which has experience if not success, they weren’t attempting to build from scratch.

      They also had a solid plan. This guy really, really doesn’t seem to have one.

      • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 15th April 2014, 9:40

        I would have loved to have seen the internet in 1997.

        “Jackie Stewart does not know what he is getting into, he’ll never succeed”. 1999, Stewart win first race after making a profit in every year they competed in F1.

        Please don’t judge.

  13. Dane said on 15th April 2014, 11:32

    Lotus have had success on a limited budget so it can be done. Toyota really demonstrated money can’t buy success in F1.

  14. 2face said on 15th April 2014, 15:23

    Kinda ironic that a company that actually manufactures CNC machines plans to buy off the shelf parts. The other teams are probably using Haas CNC machines to build their own custom parts.

  15. Brian C (@bcracing) said on 15th April 2014, 17:02

    I can’t believe how much negativity is being thrown at Formula Haas on this site. There a lot of people who just don’t like the prospects of being beaten by Americans or something and a lot of people are grossly underestimating the manufacturing and research capabilities he already has. His wind tunnel is more advanced than any other team in F1 and he already owns it and makes profit from it. Every other F1 team already has Haas Automation products in their factories, its not like Gene is going into this blindfolded. They won’t be on the podium in their first season but they could become a force to be reckoned with, and I hope they do.

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