Haas: Starting F1 team my biggest challenge yet


Gene Haas has said that starting a Formula 1 team is his biggest challenge to date, and that the first five years will be about survival for his outfit that is set to join the grid for the 2016 F1 season.

Earlier this year, the FIA confirmed that it had awarded a berth on the grid to Haas F1 Team, and was able to accept it for either the 2015 or 2016 seasons. Haas opted to defer until 2016 to give himself more time to get everything in place.

Speaking to CNN, Haas admitted that this was the biggest challenge that he has faced in motorsport, but cannot see it failing despite many having concerns about the viability of the project.

“Certainly the biggest challenge, yes, but I guess I don’t have any doubts that we can do it,” Haas explained. “People keep saying ‘are you going to fail?’ – I don’t even really think about it.

“I think to me it’s just a challenge, it’s something that you need to do and it can be done. I know it’s hard, but like I say, don’t give up, just keep banging your head against the wall until you open the door.”

Following the demise of both Caterham and Marussia F1 Team in the past 24 hours, there will be a great deal of scrutiny on Haas F1 Team to see whether it can sustain itself as a long-term project in F1.

“I think for the first five years it’s just [about] surviving,” Haas said. “I don’t have any expectations of grandeur that we are going to go out there and win championships. If we even win a race in 5 years, I think that would be a tremendous success.

“Just the association of being with Formula 1 basically takes our brand from nobody to the stratosphere, and if we struggle at it, maybe we will get more notoriety about it.

“But sooner or later we will march up. I’m not expecting to beat anybody, just maybe the guys at the back.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.