UPDATED: FIA decision on Haas, new F1 teams delayed

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UPDATE (3:56 p.m. ET): NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will have to wait a little longer to find out if his application to own a team in Formula One has been accepted. Autoweek’s Adam Cooper is reporting that the decision, which was due to be made today, has now been delayed.

According to Cooper, the FIA has notified the candidates but apparently did not give a reason for the delay or a new deadline.

Haas, who co-owns Sprint Cup squad Stewart-Haas Racing, is one of two candidates for an F1 license. The other is a group from Romania led by former Hispania Racing Team (HRT) principal and managing director Colin Kolles.

Sanctioning body officials could issue licenses to both, only to one or none at all. And while the decision was expected to be made today, there was a possibility that F1 could delay the actual announcement of the license approval or denial.

Kolles could have one key advantage over Haas, namely experience. Prior to joining HRT, Kolles was previously team principal and managing director for a previous F1 team that campaigned under the names of Jordan, Midland, Spyker and Force India from 2005 through 2008.

Haas, a wealthy manufacturer of industrial machinery and components, has no prior experience in F1 other than being a long-time fan of the sport and series.

If approved, Haas would likely align himself with Ferrari but would own and operate his team from an operations base here in the U.S., most likely adjacent to SHR’s NASCAR headquarters in suburban Charlotte.

According to reports, Haas would likely purchase motors and chassis from Maranello.

Kolles’ group, which reportedly has heavy financial backing from Romanian government officials, would likely align itself with Lotus and operate from the now-defunct HRT F1 operations base near Munich.

Both Haas and Kolles paid a $130,000 fee as part of the application process. Both men were interviewed by a panel of FIA officials earlier this week as a final prelude to the eventual determination of whether a license will be granted to one or the other, or both or none.

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Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).