Haas F1 Team confirms new hires, and place in ex-Marussia factory


Gene Haas has confirmed further staff and operational details for the Haas F1 Team, via a team release out Tuesday. The Ferrari-powered team remains on course and on schedule for its debut in the 2016 Formula 1 season.

The Guenther Steiner-led team has confirmed its place in the former Marussia factory in Banbury, Oxfordshire. The 3.655 square-meter (39,350 square-foot) building will serve as Haas F1 Team’s European base, and will complement its U.S. headquarters in Kannapolis, N.C.

It had been reported a month or so ago that this factory was Haas’ targeted European headquarters, and Haas confirmed further updates of the team’s F1 plans during the NASCAR media tour in Charlotte.

The team has also announced some new staff hires, including two past Marussia workers.

Dave O’Neill has been hired as team manager, with Rob Taylor as chief designer and Ben Agathangelou as chief aerodynamicist.

O’Neill and Taylor come to Haas from Marussia. O’Neill joined Marussia when it was initially set up as Manor in 2009 (team is reverting to that name now), and faced a six-month process to get the team established prior to its debut in the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix. Taylor was deputy chief designer at Marussia and will have full reins of the car there.

O’Neill’s other experience the last 15-20 years includes stints with Jordan Grand Prix and the A1GP series, the open-wheel championship featuring drivers racing for nations rather than particular teams. Taylor has worked with McLaren, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Jaguar, Arrows, Ferrari, Cosworth and Benetton previously.

Agathangelou paired with Haas F1 Team from Scuderia Ferrari where he managed the upgrade of the team’s wind tunnel and testing systems in Maranello, Italy, in March 2012. Prior to that, Agathangelou was with Dallara, serving as an engineering consultant for a number of projects the Italian racecar manufacturer had dating back to 2009, which included the technical lead for the Campos F1 project (the team that became HRT).

Agathangelou and Taylor have already completed the 60-percent scale model of the team’s 2016 chassis.

“While there is still a lot of work to do, a lot has already been accomplished for Haas F1 Team to be competitive when we join the F1 grid in 2016,” Steiner said in a team release.

Drivers remain a hot topic but are likely to be announced in the summer months at the earliest.