The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

NASCAR's Gene Haas chasing Formula 1 team despite bleak outlook from Ecclestone

  • Print

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Gene Haas wants double the profits of CNC machine manufacturer Haas Automation to $2 billion a year — a goal he believes he can only accomplish by tapping into the global market.

And how does he do that? By starting a Formula One team, of course.

Haas insisted Monday he is serious about fielding an F1 team based in North Carolina, on the same land in Kannapolis that houses the Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR team he co-owns with Tony Stewart.

"We want to be an American team. We think that has the most sizzle to it," he said.

Haas, through Haas Racing Development, paid a $5,000 application fee to F1's governing body during an open application period for new teams interested in racing in either the 2015 or 2016 season. He said he has received some frank advice from F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone about this venture.

"Mr. Ecclestone doesn't think I have enough money to do this. He doesn't think we will get the license. So my chances probably aren't that great of a shot," Haas said.

Haas didn't blink when asked Monday if he'd be willing to help fund Kurt Busch's potential Indianapolis 500 entry — "He hasn't asked me," he said — and is already paying anywhere between $12 million and $20 million out of pocket for Haas CNC to sponsor Busch's new fourth entry at SHR — an endeavour that required significant capital improvement at SHR headquarters.

So does he have enough money for an F1 team?

"I won't know until I try. If you don't try, you'll never fail," he said. "The Europeans have their way of doing things, and we as Americans have our way of doing things. I think we could be competitive and successful."

He admitted Ecclestone's warning was likely his way of "being as brutally honest with us as he can" but Haas is driven by the challenge of being America's first F1 entrant since Penske Racing competed from England from 1974-78.

The last U.S.-based team was Parnelli Jones Racing in 1974-76, when Mario Andretti drove.

The FIA granted entry to an American team in 2009 — the USF1 team — but it failed to hit the grid in 2010 and Haas said that botched effort could hurt his process. His next application is due Feb. 10.

He's got the support of Stewart, but his partner in the NASCAR team would not be part of an F1 venture.

"That's Gene's project, but it's pretty exciting," Stewart said. "Gene is the kind of person who when he puts his mind to it, he has the ability to stay focused. He's done that with the Cup side, he's done that with Haas Automation, and it's going to be exciting watching him try to do that in Formula One."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

In the Key of Bart: Can’t It Be Nice This Time?

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google