Too many teams “throw money” at F1 – Haas

2015 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine


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. 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.

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

    1. Errr, the Hummer was not built to be efficient. Quite the opposite.

    2. Yup. They still have carburetors in their cars!

  3. 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.

    1. 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…

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

      2. 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.

    2. Bring in Brawn and Honda. That might actually work.

  4. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    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…

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      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!

    2. 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.

      1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
        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.

        1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
          16th April 2014, 18:48

          they could test 24-7 in those days! we are not judging: we are just staring the facts!

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      16th April 2014, 18:51

      when time shows how completelly wrong you are, please post an aknowledge to this fact.

  11. I think F1 has always been designed to be hard for new teams to enter and succeed at, and Haas knows it. What prestige would the series have if anybody could just come in and succeed at it in fairly short order with fairly reasonable money?

    Sure the odds are stacked against any new team, but I’m sure Haas is a very smart man with some very smart people around him and has likely been considering this for a long time. Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s been an F1 fan for a long time.

    Someone above mentioned that if the likes of Mac can’t get a major sponsor what hope has Haas got, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some big American entities that would love more global exposure through Haas and F1.

    Ultimately he’s a grown man, with big money, big dreams, big connections, is engrained in racing, is motivated, and has the green light from F1 to proceed. Who is anyone to stand in the way of his journey at this point?

    He may never do much in F1, but I get the impression he’s going to have a blast trying. There are never any guarantees. Just ask RBR, Ferrari, and Domenicali. They’re engrained as it gets, and what has that guaranteed them?

  12. If he hasn’t started with the design of the car he won’t make the 2015 entry as current F1 teams are already designing their 2015 cars.

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