Report: Gene Haas to delay Formula One entry until 2016

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Gene Haas’ highly-anticipated entry to Formula One will be pushed back from 2015 to 2016, according to a report by Motorsport.com.

Earlier this week, Haas told the web site timing is becoming a significant issue to get an F1 team operating and on track by the start of the 2015 season.

“It just seems that it’s taking longer to accomplish what we wanted to do than we thought,” Haas told Motorsport.com. “It’s already June, so it’s (the start of the 2015 season) just seven months away and the timing issues are starting to get real crazy.”

Logistics are a significant part of the delay for the organization, which hasn’t even made a selection of a potential driver or drivers for what is expected to be a two-car team.

“We have a list of names, but the problem is a lot of times they’re already working for somebody and they can’t get out of their contracts for three to six months,” Haas told the web site. “So there’s a lot of those contractual issues that have to be resolved before someone can come over.”

In terms of motors and chassis for his F1 operation, Haas told the web site that he was “leaning towards” an affiliation with Ferrari because “they’re more open to what we need to do.”

Haas might still be interested in purchasing an existing team. NBCSports.com’s Luke Smith reported Sunday that the Caterham F1 team is up for sale.

While Haas was determined to get his team up and running for 2015, having an additional year now gives him roughly 19 months to take a more pronounced and methodical approach that could help the team achieve success in time, rather than attempt to rush the effort for next season.

There has been no other independent confirmation of Haas’ reported delay other than the Motorsport.com story.

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Danica Patrick to sign off driving career at 2018 Indy 500

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With her full-time career in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now coming to an end, following the end of the 2017 season this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Danica Patrick is embarking on a new path in 2018 with the two biggest 500-mile races in North America.

Patrick confirmed plans to participate in North America’s most marquee 500-mile races, the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500, during a press conference today in Miami. A team for the Indianapolis 500 has not been determined, and her options for the Daytona 500 are limited to NASCAR teams with three or fewer full-time cars, because a four-car full-time team cannot enter a fifth for the Daytona 500.

Patrick ended her full-time career in IndyCar after 2011 to head to NASCAR. She drove 10 races in 2012 before her first full Cup season in 2013, where she won the pole for that year’s Daytona 500 and ultimately finished eighth.

Her Cup career has seen her finish between 24th and 28th in points with seven career top-10 finishes, all between sixth and 10th place. She ranks 27th heading into this week’s finale too.

It was her IndyCar career though where she first entered the national conversation after a few years of apprenticeship driving for Bobby Rahal’s Barber Dodge and Formula Atlantic teams. A fourth place finish in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 with a number of laps led launched her into the racing stratosphere and helped produce the Indianapolis 500’s biggest rating in years.

Ultimately her best finish in the ‘500 in seven starts was third place in 2009, behind Helio Castroneves and the late Dan Wheldon.

She won at Motegi, 2008, for her first and only win in IndyCar.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 29: Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 Team GoDaddy Dallara Honda, makes a pit stop during the IZOD IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 29, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

A visibly emotional Patrick announced this was the end of her full-time driving career to kick off the press conference, but switched to her future plans once she got through the opening remarks.

Patrick “never thought” she’d do the Indianapolis 500 again but when tossing around future ideas, the concept of running both Daytona and Indianapolis came up.

“I never thought I would do it. I always thought never, but I never said never. Here I am,” she said.

“Out of my mouth came, ‘What about Indy?’ That was really the first sort of idea that got me excited. Let’s do it. I called Haley (Moore, longtime PR rep). What did I just say I would do? She said, ‘Hell yes that’s a good idea.’

“I’m still surprised.”

Patrick will need to participate in the Indianapolis 500 refresher program for drivers that aren’t full-time drivers, so that will provide her a couple hours additional track time before practice opens to the full field in mid-May.

The new 2018 Dallara universal body kit comes into being this year too, and Patrick thinks she has improved as a driver over the last six seasons to be able to come back.

“(Going) 240… it’ll be no problem,” she deadpanned. “It’ll take a bit of adjusting. It’s different for sure. But I think I’m a better driver now. It’ll take a bit of acclimating. Yeah, I would like to get in a car before I get to Indy.”

Patrick said running the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 “could” occur with her same teams she last ran with full-time, Stewart-Haas Racing and Andretti Autosport, respectively. But her options remain open for both.