Gene Haas: Debut F1 points justify taking an extra year to prepare

© Haas F1 Team

Gene Haas believes that Romain Grosjean’s charge to sixth place in his new Formula 1 team’s very first race justifies the decision to have delayed its debut until 2016.

Haas F1 Team hit the grid for the first time in Melbourne in Sunday and became the first start-up outfit since Toyota in 2002 to score points on debut.

NASCAR team co-owner Haas had the option to rush the team’s entry and get on the grid for 2015, but ultimately opted to spend another year preparing.

Haas was thankful to all involved with his F1 project, but also said that the strong pace of the team from the outset is a clear indication that taking more time was the right thing to do.

“It’s been a long time in the making to do this,” Haas told NBC Sports.

“A lot of people have contributed to it, so you have to think all the people starting with Gunther who put this all together and kept pushing me to go out and try this.

“We’ve had the Ferrari people have been excellent, they’ve helped us a lot and Dallara building the chassis. We’ve got a great sponsor, it’s all great.

“The chassis, engine, aero – they all work. That’s really important. That’s why we took the extra year to work on that. Ben in our aero department, he spent a lot of time getting the aero right.

“The car is a very stable platform. We’ve kind of known that since Barcelona. We’ve had a lot of little gremlins and technical issues and rain and so forth, but I think the fundamental chassis going to be pretty awesome this year for us.”

Haas has approached F1 very different to other new teams in recent history, opting to use as many of technical partner Ferrari’s components as possible instead of going it all alone.

Team principal Gunther Steiner explained how seeing teams such as Caterham, Marussia and HRT fail in recent years taught Haas that it had to do things differently, leading to its debut success.

“We knew just doing more of the same like the other ones did just didn’t work,” Steiner told NBC Sports.

“Three tried and didn’t achieve a lot, so we said if we do more of them, we’re not more clever than these guys, there’s a limit to how clever you can be. We said we need to find a new idea.

“Thanks to to the collaboration with Ferrari and the rules being a little bit more in favour of us that we can buy some parts, that helped.

“I would say without the help of Ferrari, we wouldn’t have achieved what we achieved today.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”