Kurt Busch excited by Gene Haas’ F1 project

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Kurt Busch has said that Gene Haas is determined to get his Formula 1 team on the grid in 2015, and although he feels that he is too old to race, he would certainly be up for a test drive.

The FIA confirmed on Friday that Haas had been given the green light to put together a team for 2015, setting the wheels in motion for an American outfit to join the grid. A technical partnership with Ferrari is thought to be on the table, and the likes of Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly have already been linked with a seat.

Busch – who drives the #41 for Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR – was really enthusiastic about the possibility of an American team joining the grid.

“It will be an incredible challenge. He knows that,” Busch told the Associated Press. “He’s serious. You just don’t drop $40 million on a wind tunnel and not think that you’re serious about racing.

“It’s a matter of the fans getting behind it, supporting Gene and trying to give F1 another chance,” he said. “We’ve had Michael Andretti, before him was his dad. We had Scott Speed as a driver. Now we have an owner. It will be interesting to see how the driver line-up shapes up.”

At 35, Busch feels that he is too old to race for the team, but he would not say no to a test outing.

“My time has passed to be a competitive driver in F1,” he said. “But a test session? I’d jump on that every time. They’re going to have hard time keeping me out of the shop, from hanging out.”

Following the announcement, there has been a mix of delight and skepticism from the Formula 1 world. However, with a racing team and automotive company behind the American bid this time around, Haas’ project appears to have far more going for it than USF1 did back in 2009.

Predictably, a number of other NASCAR and IndyCar drivers will be linked to the seats with Haas in Formula 1, but should he be looking for American drivers that are already on the sport’s ladder, both Rossi and Daly would be good picks. However, they might need to be complemented by a more experienced Formula 1 driver given that neither has started a grand prix yet.

Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.