Report: Haas says he had “too much time” to prep for F1

Getty Images

There’s two songs on Pink Floyd’s incomparable “Dark Side of the Moon” that are relevant regardless of the time, place, era or situation.

They are “Time” and “Money.”

And in Formula 1, generally speaking, you never seem to have enough of either.

Which is what makes Gene Haas’ comments about having “too much time” all the more abnormal to hear or read, especially as a new entrant into the sport.

But Haas claims that given there’s been nearly a full two years of laying the groundwork for Haas F1 Team’s 2016 debut, he’s almost had more time than he figured he would need to get everything sorted.

“We had too much time, actually,” Haas told Autosport.

“We probably had maybe three months more than what we really needed. But that provided us with the time to look at all the things we needed to order in, things like the technical trailers – it takes almost a year to build them all.

“That time gave us a benefit you don’t normally get.”

He added how the extra time has allowed him to get its Banbury factory, formerly Manor’s, fully updated and swapped out of past machinery.

All told, these are bold comments, because new teams in F1 generally don’t have it easy, and seem to run more on borrowed time than anything else.

Of the three newest teams in F1 that premiered in 2010, only Manor – initially Manor before morphing into Virgin, then Marussia, then back to Manor – still exists. Caterham and HRT are defunct.

USF1 of course never made it out of neutral to a single Grand Prix, and remains an inglorious mark in the checkered history between F1 and the U.S. market. It did live on though in a series of cartoons and bad toaster jokes.

Gene Haas is a smart man and he wouldn’t have the money he does to make this dream into reality if he didn’t know how to allocate the dollars – and the time – properly.

But I hope one day he doesn’t find that 10 years have got behind him, and if no one told him when to run, he misses the starting gun at Melbourne.

In other words, we hope the words don’t come back to bite him if the team launch isn’t as good as we all hope.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.