Gene Haas updates F1 team’s progress at NASCAR media tour

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While much of the focus around Stewart-Haas Racing’s media availability (OK, the primary focus) centered on the team’s four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, team co-owner Gene Haas also took the time to answer questions from assembled media about the Haas F1 Team’s updates as it’s a little more than a year out until the team’s scheduled debut.

Official news in recent weeks has been limited surrounding Haas F1 Team, although a report emerged a little more than a week ago that Haas is expected to use the former Marussia headquarters in Banbury as its UK base.

Haas told reporters, including NBC’s Dustin Long, things are about where they should be given the timeline.

“We have a little under 50 people right now,” Haas told reporters. “There’s about 50 in Kannapolis, and roughly the same amount in the UK and same in Italy right now.”

The driver lineup is of course going to be something to monitor. American Alexander Rossi has spoken publicly of his desire to race for the team, while Ferrari – Haas’ engine technical partner – has newly signed Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne as the team’s reserve and test/development drivers in Maranello.

“The driver selection will be at the end of summer,” Haas said. “We’ll need to look around, see who’s available. There could be a new crop of young drivers. Big teams want guys in their 20s. Some are getting concerned about bringing up someone else too fast.”

Haas expects F1 to be a learning process, but he’s hoping some of the team efficiencies and protocols from the Cup side can transfer over to the new F1 team.

“We’ll try to,” Haas said. “I find the whole thing very intriguing. It’s very technologically advanced. The way they deal with everything. It’s all so impressive to begin with, it’s all intriguing. We can learn a lot with Formula 1 and apply to our NASCAR team.

“In NASCAR, we run twice as many races. I’m hoping some of the efficiencies will gives us an advantage.”

Haas said his F1 team will operate out of Ferrari’s wind tunnel rather than his own one in Charlotte. F1’s regulations stipulate only one wind tunnel can be utilized.

Lastly, Haas tempered expectations – but said the team will likely be better than some think it will.

“I won’t say we’ll do great. But we should be more competitive than people think,” he said. “We’re associating with Ferrari. We’re putting our facilities in place. We’re getting our trailers, haulers.

“It’s one thing to have a car and driver but you need the support to make it work. We’re gathering the spares and infrastructure.

“We’re looking good, and we don’t want to be putting things together at the last moment.”

Juncos Racing to field single car entry in Indy 500

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Part-time NTT IndyCar Series entrant Juncos Racing will announce their attempt to qualify for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 within the next few weeks, according to RACER.

The team, which made its Indy 500 debut in 2017, ran 12 of the 17 IndyCar Series races last season, but has only made a start in one of the four events so far in 2019, finishing 18th in the inaugural running of the IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas with Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel.

Though no driver has yet to be announced for the single-car entry, Kaiser is expected to be the leading candidate for the ride. The 23-year-old Californian has raced for the team since 2014, where he won the 2017 Indy Lights championship.

One of the top teams in the Road to Indy ladder system, Juncos Racing has over 50 wins between Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 competition. The team’s most recent victory came in the second Indy Lights race at St. Petersburg this year with Rinus VeeKay behind the wheel.

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