Gene Haas downplays irony of Ford vs. Ferrari in his NASCAR, F1 teams

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Wednesday’s news that Stewart-Haas Racing will shift from Chevrolet to Ford in its Sprint Cup cars in 2017 brought back recollections by some of the fierce battles Ford once had with Ferrari in sports cars, and to a point, even Formula 1.

SHR co-owner Gene Haas has delved into F1 this season with the first American team in years – and his power units are from Ferrari (chassis is from Dallara).

Haas was asked during Wednesday’s announcement of SHR’s shift to Ford if there may be some increased notoriety for both his F1 team and Sprint Cup teams because of the old Ford vs. Ferrari rivalry.

“That was a long, long time ago,” Haas said. “You’re talking about something back in the (1960s). I think over the years I feel that that animosity is probably gone because Ford and Ferrari really compete at the dealership level anymore.”

Haas continued, telling the reporter that posed the question, “It’s kind of humorous you say that, but I don’t think Ferrari is going to say anything about it. I can tell you that the conversations I had with Ford that was never brought up, so that’s really a unique question. It will all be good, I’m sure of that.”

Raj Nair, executive vice president of Global Product Development and Chief Technical Officer for Ford, concurred with Haas’ comments.

“(The old Ford vs. Ferrari rivalry) really never came up,” Nair said. “We respect all of our competitors, whether it’s Ferrari or Chevy or whoever, and that rivalry is probably going to heat up a little bit when we get to Le Mans with the GT this year, but that really has never come up.

“We have other relationships, whether it’s Roger Penske, who has a Chevy in IndyCar, or Chip Ganassi, who races Chevy in NASCAR. We really treat those deals as separate.”

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