F1 candidate Gene Haas on FIA: “They’re pretty intense”

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As reported on Friday, the FIA has delayed its decision on granting licenses for a new Formula One expansion team – meaning that Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas (pictured, left, with fellow co-owner Tony Stewart) will have to wait longer before he knows if his application to own an F1 squad has been accepted.

Haas, who saw his driver Kevin Harvick win today at Phoenix International Raceway, is one of two candidates for a license along with a Romania-based group led by longtime F1 team management figure Colin Kolles.

Following today’s race, Haas was asked to give an update on the subject and promptly went into detail about his recent meeting with the FIA in Switzerland.

Haas said the meeting involved “six or seven various people” involved with the FIA and that the group had a “formal way of processing applications in the sense that there is no application.”

“It was about a hour-and-a-half [long] meeting where they asked us a lot of questions about how we intend to do this, how do we intend to pay for it, what are the logistics of how you’re going to do this,” he said. “We answered those questions as best we could. I was there. [SHR executive vice-president] Joe Custer was there. [Former F1 technical director] Gunther Steiner was there.

“They’re pretty intense. They had a lot of good questions. I think what they do is they take that information, evaluate it, make their recommendations to I think it’s the Formula One’s owners association or next group of people, and the process goes on.”

Haas noted the delay by the FIA, which did not give an alternate date for when their final decision would be issued.

“From what I’ve learned talking to other people, this is fairly normal,” he said about the delay. “There’s lots of dates they have. They don’t really make a decision until they’re sure what they want the decision to be.”

IndyCar’s Vasser-Sullivan expand into IMSA for 2019

James Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. Photo IndyCar
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Not even one year after returning to the IndyCar ranks, Vasser-Sullivan Racing is taking AIM at the IMSA world, you might say.

While team co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan will continue to partner with Dale Coyne Racing on the IndyCar side, they expanded their holdings Tuesday, announcing a partnership with AIM Autosport to campaign a new two-car Lexus-backed RC F GT3 effort in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

The new team – named AIM Vasser-Sullivan – will replace 3GT Racing, which was part of Lexus’ sports car program launch in 2016. It will announce its two drivers in the coming weeks, the team said.

“Sulli and I are excited and looking forward to entering a new chapter in our racing careers,” Vasser said in a media release. “I have driven sports cars before, but my career was pretty much limited to the 24 Hours of Daytona, including a ‘class’ win in 1992 and second overall in 2008.

“The AIM Vasser Sullivan team, with the support of Lexus and our sponsors, has the tools to get the job done and we are looking forward to this new challenge.”

Lexus has made significant progress in its first two seasons in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, having earned a combined two race wins, five poles and finished third in the 2018 GTD Manufacturer point standings.

Vasser and Sullivan were part of the ownership group of KVSH Racing in IndyCar from 2011 through 2016 before the organization folded.

They also owned Tony Kanaan’s 2013 Indianapolis 500-winning car.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Vasser, a former CART champion, and Sullivan rejoined forces this past February, just before the start of the 2018 IndyCar season, partnering with Coyne to form a satellite team led by driver Sebastien Bourdais, who previously drove for KVSH.

Bourdais kicked off the new team’s effort with a win in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He finished seventh in the overall season standings.

AIM Vasser Sullivan will have two home bases for its IMSA program: AIM’s current facility in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, as well as a new U.S. shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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