Gene Haas is not concerned about the lack of sponsors on his team’s Formula 1 car, saying that they will follow once it has proven itself and the season is underway.
NASCAR team co-owner Haas saw his eponymous team hit the track for the first time in Barcelona earlier this week in testing ahead of its grand prix debut in Australia next month.
The Haas VF-16 carries a great deal of branding for Haas Automation, much as Red Bull does on its car promoting in-house companies, but few other sponsors.
Haas explained that a number of parties are interested in working with the team but need to see a product on track first.
“Well the biggest problem is we don’t have a product yet. We’ve never been on a track, we have nothing to really sell to anybody,” Haas said.
“I think people would be a little bit afraid of going out on the track and just embarrassing your name. If go out there and look bad they’re probably not going to want to sponsor you.
“I’m optimistic that when we go out there we’re going to look professional, we’re going to be able to compete on a level that other teams will respect, and that should make sponsors say ‘OK, there’s a product, we can see it, we can deliver’.
“That should make them feel more comfortable about wanting to sponsor us.”
Haas was asked how fussy he would be about sponsors, with F1 typically boasting more blue-chip and luxury sponsors than the traditional consumer brands seen in NASCAR.
“Obviously you look at what’s on the track today: exotic cars, energy drinks. I think anything that has mass appeal, we would be certainly interested in,” Haas said.
“I think we could do a good job of marketing the product, especially an American product all over the world. There’s a huge audience for Formula 1 in the rest of the world, even more so than just in America.”