In an exclusive interview with NBCSN, Gene Haas has revealed more details about the progress he is making with Haas F1 Team ahead of its entry into Formula 1 in 2016.
Back in April, the FIA confirmed that it had granted a berth to Haas for next season, only for the NASCAR team co-owner to postpone entry for an extra year to give the team more time to prepare for its debut.
This week, it was confirmed that the team had struck a deal with Ferrari for an engine supply, but Haas explained to NBCSN’s Will Buxton that the partnership will go beyond that.
“We’re going to try to get as many parts as allowed by the FIA,” he said. “It’s going to be suspension, it’s going to be I think wheels and chassis parts and transmission, engine. Everything down to even the steering modes.
“One of the prior concorde agreements was that the big teams could help the smaller teams, so we hope to get a lot of help from Ferrari to tell us what direction to go in.
“Then we’re gonna have a lot of other people to help us build those parts. Dallara will probably [be] one of the sub-contractors. Our goal at least initially is to try to rent, buy whatever we can to go racing because that’s what we’re here for.”
Haas also confirmed that he would be looking to set up a European base in England that would work with the team’s home in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
“Now the next step is that we have to get our base together,” Haas explained. “Obviously Ferrari is based in Italy, we have our facilities in Kannapolis.
“We’re probably going to need to have some kind of facility in the UK, in the southern part where all the other Formula 1 racers are. So, just the logistics of putting all of that together is the next challenge.”
One of the biggest mysteries about Haas F1 Team is who will be driving the car in 2016. American racer Alexander Rossi confirmed to MotorSportsTalk back in June that he had held some talks with the team, but Haas remained coy.
However, he did reveal that he has told NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who races for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, that he can test the car if he wins the championship this year.
“Everybody I talk to is interested,” Haas said. “I was talking to Kurt Busch last week. He was interested. He said if he wins the NASCAR championship, if could he have a ride in one. I said “for sure!” if he wins the championship.”
Busch has expressed his excitement for Haas’ project in the past, and although his chances of winning the championship do look slim, he could enjoy a brief test in the car at some point.
“I said he can get in the car!” Haas said, laughing. “I tell you, an American driver in a Formula 1 car in Europe, that would just knock it out of the ball park.
“I’ll give it to you: Kurt Busch could drive one of these cars.”
For Haas, there are definite similarities between NASCAR and the F1 community, but he is excited to be taking on a new challenge.
“You know racers are racers,” he said. “I don’t think they’re really that much different to what we have in NASCAR, except everyone speaks different languages here.
“I could go racing next year. Unfortunately from what I’ve heard from other teams, that’s a real thrashing to get done that fast.
“This extra year, we’re gonna spend it just basically putting the nuts and bolts together and getting things organized.”