Günther Steiner has revealed that Haas F1 Team held talks with Mercedes over a possible technical partnership for the 2016 Formula 1 season before signing an agreement with Ferrari.
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will bring his new F1 operation onto the grid in 2016 after winning the FIA’s tender back in 2014. It will be the first American team to race in F1 since the unrelated Haas Lola project in the 1980s.
As part of its entry, Haas has opted to enter a technical partnership with Ferrari that will see it resemble something close to a customer team that existed in F1 in the mid-2000s.
Haas will benefit from a Ferrari power unit and other technologies, giving it a leg up for its debut season that many new teams have not enjoyed in the past.
However, team principal Steiner explained to the official F1 website that he does not think this will detract from Haas’ own identity.
“It is a bit like road car manufacturers: they all work together and many use the same platform, but everybody keeps their own identity,” Steiner said. “Times have changed: now nobody cares where you get your steering racks from or your brake pedals.
“But then I also agree that plain customer cars could be dangerous because you might end up with too many of the same cars, because everybody, of course, wants the best car. But if you do your aero development yourself it is a good compromise at the moment.”
Steiner revealed in the interview that Haas had spoken with Mercedes about a technical partnership, but felt that Ferrari offered the best package for 2016.
“Mercedes was an option,” Steiner said. “We spoke with them as well, but Ferrari came out as the better option – so we go with Ferrari.
“We know that nothing is forever, but right now we hope that it is forever.”