Bernie Ecclestone believes that it is 'unlikely' that Gene Haas' proposed F1 team comes to fruition in 2015, despite making no secret of his desire to see the sport gain another foothold in the USA.

NASCAR team owner Haas is understood to be one of three applicants for a place on the grid if F1 expands next season - along with more seasoned bidders Zoran Stefanovic and Colin Kolles - but Ecclestone has cast doubt on the chances of it making the grid due to the costs involved with setting up an F1 operation.

The 83-year old's reservations come despite Haas heading up a hugely profitable engineering firm, Haas Automation, which produces annual revenue approaching $1bm. The American, who co-owns his four-car NASCAR outfit with Cup series champion Tony Stewart, is understood to have hired former Red Bull Racing technical director G?nter Steiner to work on the F1 project, and intends to collaborate with veteran car designer Dallara on the chassis. He already has access to the Windshear aero facility in Carolina, which was seen as one of the key components in the last American F1 bid, the ill-fated USF1 project that failed to materialise alongside what are now Caterham and Marussia in 2010.

Ecclestone, who will continue to oversee the selection process despite recently standing down from his position on the board at F1 parent company, revealed that the FIA's decision to re-open the tender for additional teams had been driven by interest from the USA, but still doubts the validity of Haas' bid.

"The FIA is not introducing a new team," he told, "The team is asking for an entry. Somebody has asked 'can we have an entry' [but] I doubt they will get in."

"They have been talking about it for three years. Two or three people there. I would say it is most unlikely. It's no good proving someone has got the money. Somebody can have ten billion in the bank, but it doesn't mean they are going to spend it. It's nothing to do with having enough resources. You can't tell them to make a commitment because it's a commitment to do what? It's always been like that."

Despite Ecclestone's involvement, the final decision on whether to admit a twelfth team to the grid will be made by the FIA at the end of February.


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