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.”