Gene Haas has said he is confident a US-based F1 team can succeed in F1 and ultimately 'beat the Europeans at their own game'.
Haas and team principal Guenther Steiner held a press conference on Monday to 'provide more detail on their plan to bring an American team to Formula 1' and while it has still to be decided if the squad will start in 2015 or 2016 [see separate story - HERE
], Haas isn't daunted by the task or by the recent failure of US F1.
“I think that [US F1] cast a long shadow because as was pointed out we're the first American team to enter F1 in 25, 30 years,” Haas stated. “US F1 obviously tried that five years ago, and I don't know exactly why they failed, but they had a different set of rules. There was a lot more complications of those rules. I respect that they tried. I don't think that they made a full hearted attempt. But for whatever reasons, they failed at it. I think it just lends to the story line that Formula 1 is extremely hard to do. It's extremely expensive to do, and Americans can't do it. [But] I'm here to prove that we can do it, and we can do it with a budget and we can be efficient at it and we can win at it. That's what I'm going to try.”
“I'm not saying that I'm better than anybody else,” he added. “I just have a different way of doing it, and people that I work with think differently. That, I guess, is going to be the secret to our success in this business.
“I wouldn't be doing it if I thought I was going to fail. But I'll try it even if I do fail, but that's the challenge of it all. The challenge of it all is proving other people wrong. That would be the greatest satisfaction is being able to go out there and do what other Americans haven't done, which is, I guess, the definition of success.”
“I think you get the impression that sometimes people think that the European way of racing is so much more advanced than the Americans. But we're the most advanced country on the planet,” he continued.
“So I can't imagine why we can't do this. I don't see any reasons why we can't. It's just basically racing. Parts are more expensive, the coffee is a lot more expensive, certainly, but I think we can bring a more rational way to do this.”
Quizzed on how they plan to enter the sport, Haas admitted 'Haas Formula' – as the team will be known - will rely on the experience of a number of partners and that they have already had talks with Dallara.
Despite the reliance on so many partners though, Haas said the core of the team would remain US-based.
“Ideally, going forward, the main office for the Formula 1 would be here in Kannapolis, and maybe a smaller office somewhere in either Germany or Italy for assembly and disassembly of cars,” he stated.
“I think the challenge here basically in my mind is getting to the racetrack with a car that runs. We're not here to reinvent the wheel. It would be insurmountable to say that we're going to build a chassis by ourselves and engineer it, figure out how to do it and hire all the people in nine months,” he added.
“At the moment we've talked to a number of people. The next thing to do is to sit down and have some very serious negotiations with our partners. I think as everybody knows, there are currently three engine suppliers for Formula 1, Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari, so we have to narrow down the partner that we're going to work with. And that's a very important part of it is figuring out who can provide us with the technical expertise that we're going to need."
"The chassis supplier would be Dallara who is obviously experienced in building IRL cars. We're not looking to start our own shop immediately. We need to have people that have people on the ground, actually making carbon fibre parts and making tubs and so on and so forth. So we've had some preliminary talks with Dallara, and they're ready to go. They have a complete facility. They have experience. They know what they're doing. They've been involved in racing forever as far as I know. They've been around a long time. So those are the kind of partners that we'd be partnering up with,” he continued.
“At the same time, we want to learn. We're not going to go over there and say build us a chassis. We intend to put our own people in there to learn these processes, because ultimately our goal is to become a constructor. That is our goal of Formula 1 is to have a driver's series and a constructors series.
“The constructor series is the part that we have to put together. I don't think our car is going to be the Haas Formula car entirely. It's going to be based on a lot of the technology coming from our partners to begin with. But as time goes on, we'll learn. We'll figure it out.
"The car will eventually evolve into our own car, and quite frankly, I think we can beat the Europeans at their own game.”