Report: Gene Haas to delay Formula One entry until 2016

4 Comments

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.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Schmidt Peterson hires IndyCar’s first female lead engineer, will work with Hinchcliffe

Photo courtesy Audi Sport
Leave a comment

Leena Gade, who helped lead Audi to three wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as lead engineer for the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda of driver James Hinchcliffe.

“I’m really honored that I’ve got a chance to come across and work in INDYCAR,” Gade said in a team media release. “When I was a kid, I used to watch Indy car (racing), especially when Nigel Mansell first came over (in 1993), and I followed it quite a lot.

“During my sports car days, it was a little less so, until I had friends come across to the U.S. to work in it like Piers (Phillips, SPM’s general manager).

“I’m quite honored to be given the chance. It is going to be something completely different to anything I’ve ever done before, so it’s a big learning curve, but it’s a challenge that I’m really relishing, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Gade, who grew up in India and is from Great Britain, is one of the most recognized engineers in all forms of international motorsports. She becomes the first female lead engineer in Verizon IndyCar Series history.

She’s also the second female lead engineer in Indy racing history, joining Diane Holl, who served as engineer for Adrian Fernandez, Tony Kanaan (Tasman Motorsports) and Richie Hearn (Della Penna Motorsports) in CART from 1996-2000.

Gade, who holds engineering degrees from the University of Manchester in England, has engineered cars in several race series and for several manufacturers, including F1, BMW, A1 Grand Prix, GT racing, Jaguar, Audi and most recently with Bentley Motorsport.

She became the first female race engineer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011, and followed that up with another Le Mans win in 2012, as well as being part of the World Endurance Championship drivers and manufacturers titles in the same year.

Also in 2012, she was named FIA WEC “Man of the Year” and was awarded the C&R Racing Women in Technology award from the Lyn St. James Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation.

Her team also won Le Mans for a third time in 2014.

“There was significant interest in Leena amongst the international motorsports community, so we’re really excited that she sees where we’re taking SPM, believes in what we’re doing and that she is now a part of our organization,” Piers Phillips said. “ I’ve known Leena for quite some time now and I’ve worked alongside her, so I knew the credit she’s been given is well deserved. We’re very much looking forward to throwing her into the deep end and seeing her add to the team’s success.”

Gade and Hinchcliffe go into the deep end that Phillips referenced when they take part in a team test Jan. 24 at Sebring International Raceway, the first time the pair will work together.