Haas' F1 Bid Likely Will Fail
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on January 27, 2014 | 5:55 P.M. EST
Car owner Gene Haas (left) says that he's been told it's unlikely his application for a Formula One team will be accepted. (Photo: Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Car owner Gene Haas admits that the chances of getting a license to own a Formula One team “is not great.’’
Haas was one of three applicants for a new Formula One team as soon as 2015, according to a German motorsports website.
Haas said that Bernie Ecclestone, who oversees Formula One’s day-to-day operations, has been blunt about the chances of the American effort.
“Mr. Ecclestone has kind of said that he didn’t think we would get the license,’’ Haas said during Monday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour. “That’s difficult. Maybe he’s just trying to warn me about some of the problems.’’
The last American team to compete in the series was Penske Racing in 1978.
Ecclestone told Racer last week that Haas’ worth isn’t a factor. Haas said that Haas Automation, an engineering firm he founded in 1983 has slightly less than $1 billion in sales.
“It's no good proving someone has got the money,” Ecclestone told Racer. “Somebody can have 10 billion in the bank but it doesn't mean they are going to spend it. It's nothing to do with having enough resources. You can't tell them to make a commitment because it's a commitment to do what? It's always been like that.”
Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, says he doesn’t doubt Haas’ effort despite the odds.
“Gene is the kind of person that when he puts his mind to doing something, he can make it happen and stays focused with it,’’ Stewart said.
Haas says he understands the challenges he faces. An American-based team was prepared to compete in Formula One in 2010 before the effort failed shortly before the season began.
“I think it’s an incredibly difficult challenge,’’ Haas said. “It’s nothing to be taken lightly. It’s filled with peril and there’s a million ways to fail. For all those reasons, that’s why you do it, to see if it is something you can do.’’
Stewart is not involved with Haas’ effort.
“This is actually’s Gene’s project,’’ Stewart said. “There’s things that down the road could benefit our Cup program as well by Gene’s involvement if we were to acquire an F1 team. I think Gene has the ability to build a championship caliber team in NASCAR and he’s ambitious to expand on that. We’re supportive of it.’’