Gene Haas has conceded that he is feeling nervous ahead of his team’s Formula 1 debut in Australia, but is relishing the challenge of fighting with some of the biggest racing teams in the world.
NASCAR team co-owner Haas will see a long-term dream be realized on Sunday when drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez line up on the grid for the first time.
Haas has traveled to Australia for his team’s debut, and made his first appearance in the FIA team personnel press conference on Friday.
The American admitted that he was feeling nervous ahead of his team’s debut, but spoke warmly of the challenge ahead and the existing structure of the sport.
“Well, I’m nervous. I think there are a lot of things going on here that I’m new to and the team is new too,” Haas said.
“So, putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together along with all the personnel and having it all come together for the first time has been a learning experience. That’s really what we’re here for is to learn how
“Formula 1 really operates from the ground floor. Your can watch this racing your whole life but there’s nothing like being a participant to really understand it and I have a lot of respect for the teams that are here and the level of technical competence you have to have to even start one of these races.
“I’m pretty much in awe. It’s a challenge and I hope it’s a lot of fun.”
Haas said that he was setting no firm short-term goals for the team, with the aim for the first season to be competitive from the outset and make no big errors.
“I think you have to look at it in terms of years. I have the feeling that if you over-anticipate what you can do in the sport, it will humble you very quickly,” Haas said.
“I think the first year or two just to be able to come to the races, be competitive, not make any major mistakes would be a tremendous achievement.
“I know a few of our drivers are hoping to score some points and that would certainly be an accomplishment.”