Entry of Haas may be in 2016 as founder declares: 'We can beat the Europeans'
Team in talks with prospective chassis builder Dallara; No decision made on engine supplier; Team want to pair young American with experienced driver
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 17/04/14 5:19am
Outlining his evolving outfit's plans "to beat the Europeans at their own game" in a remarkably-bullish press briefing on Monday, founder Gene Haas stressed that, despite opening talks with prospective chassis supplier Dallara, his team will remain American at its core - both in terms of geography and outlook - following confirmation it has been granted a Formula 1 entry for 2015.
However, the team have admitted they may not debut for another two years.
"I'd like to do 2015, simply because I think the first year's going to be a difficult year no matter what happens," said Haas. "It's a very big challenge and part of that learning curve is just simply getting to the track and sorting out the logistics of going from race to race. The sooner we learn that, the sooner we'll be done with that. So I would say we'd like 2015, but depending upon who we select with our partner, I don't know if they can provide all of the infrastructure and technology that we'd need.
"So I think it's one of those things that we're going to have to find out in the next few weeks. I would say within four weeks or so we should have an idea which year we're going to pursue."
According to Haas, his team will be headquartered in Kannapolis in North Carolina with "a smaller office somewhere in either Germany or Italy for assembly and disassembly of cars".
Although the team are yet to open detailed discussions with any of the sport's three current engine suppliers - Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, with a fourth, in the form of Honda, rejoining the fold in 2015 - they have held "preliminary talks" with Dallara.
Haas also rejected the idea that he might buy an existing team rather than start up a new operation.
"We'll have partners which we will work in Europe with," he confirmed. "But to buy a current team, it didn't fit what we wanted to do because the base needs to be the United States.
"At the same time, we want to learn. We're not going to go over there and say build us a chassis. We intend to put our own people in there to learn these processes, because ultimately our goal is to become a constructor.
"Let's face it, we're new at this. There is going to be a long learning curve, and to sit there and say we can understand what's going on with these cars in a year or two is not reasonable. It's going to take us a while to learn, and we'll lean heavily on a technical partner to help us."
As regards the identity of their two drivers, Haas' preference would be to pitch a young American with an experienced pilot already familiar with the complexities of driving a modern-era F1 car.
"That would be the ideal situation," said Haas. "But at the moment we haven't really narrowed it down."
Yet while the details of Haas Formula's entry are still their infancy, the scope of their eponymous founder's ambition is plain - as is his confidence that a broadly American approach can defeat F1's European hegemony.
"Things have changed a lot since the last Americans have been involved in [F1]. I think you get the impression that sometimes people think that the European way of racing is so much more advanced than the Americans. But we're the most advanced country on the planet," declared Haas loftily.
"I can't imagine why we can't do this. I don't see any reasons why we can't. It's just basically racing. Parts are more expensive, the coffee is a lot more expensive, certainly, but I think we can bring a more rational way to do this.
"We'll figure it out. The car will eventually evolve into our own car, and quite frankly, I think we can beat the Europeans at their own game."