Haas hoping to make NASCAR ideals work in F1

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Gene Haas hopes that his approach of minimizing the in-house manufacturing outlay that worked for him in NASCAR can also prove successful in Formula 1 when his team makes its debut in 2016.

Co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR team, Haas opted to extend his racing operation to F1 a few years ago before having his application to join the grid approved in 2014.

Haas F1 Team will make its grand prix debut in Australia next March with drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, and will enjoy support from Ferrari in the form of a technical partnership.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Haas explained the thinking behind the technical agreement with Ferrari that will see the Italian manufacturer supply the American team with many of its parts, including the power unit.

“I’ve been following the sport now for many years and I remember back in 2008 everybody was talking about customer cars,” Haas said. “A person would buy a complete car from a race team and go racing.

“That idea has been in Formula 1 for quite some time, but ultimately the customer car concept was not approved. That actually was our original plan – but it was not approved.

“Now here we are in 2015 and Bernie [Ecclestone] has proposed customer cars once again, but right now we are something of an ‘in between’ thing.

“Basically we try to purchase as much as we can – not just from Ferrari, but also from other manufacturers. Most of the teams build everything by themselves, but we are trying to find people who are supplying us with all that.

“We try to minimize what we have to manufacture. That is what we did in NASCAR. That is the whole idea. So the idea of what we are doing is not new – we are just the first who have taken it this far.”

Haas also spoke about the matter of profitability and financial stability in F1, which has been a hot topic in recent years following financial troubles for a number of teams.

“Most teams don’t make any money, and in the end in NASCAR we were breaking even after three years and last year made a little money.

“So it is basically about not losing dramatically and on the other hand maximising your revenue sources – and that goes for sponsors and prize money – and I think, from my perspective, this is easier to achieve in F1 than in NASCAR.

“In NASCAR to get any money you have to win. In F1 if you finish tenth or better you get a percentage, so if you finish among the top ten you at least get guaranteed some money. NASCAR doesn’t do that.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III