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.”