HAAS: AMERICAN TEAM AT AMERICAN RACE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT – I Would Agree With That Statement Gene…
Ever since the notion of an American Formula One team started getting bandied about in January 2014 when Gene Haas responded to the FIA’s “Call for Expression of Interest” regarding a Formula 1 entry, the names Haas and Circuit of the Americas have been inexorably linked.
Prior to Gene Haas forming Haas F1 Team, there hadn’t been an American Formula 1 team since 1986. And prior to Circuit of the Americas, or COTA as it is better known, there hadn’t been a Formula 1 race on American soil since the 2007 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
COTA put Formula One 1 on America’s map when it became the country’s first purpose-built Formula One facility. Constructed in 2011 and hosting its first Formula One race in 2012, COTA and its residency of Austin, Texas, have become a destination venue for the Formula 1 industry, which will descend upon the Violet Crown for the sixth time as the United States Grand Prix.
Motorsports (his other racing team Stewart-Haas is a major force in Nascar) is more than just a passion play for Haas. It’s a cornerstone of his company’s growth and part of Haas Automation’s DNA. Haas’ involvement in Formula 1 is partly about the challenge of competing, but it is also about growing Haas Automation globally.
“Being a Formula One participant brings a level of credibility that you just won’t get through traditional advertising,” Haas said. “People are kind of ‘show me’ people, like show me what you can do and then I’ll believe in you. It translates well into building machine tools where if we can race cars, we can build machine tools.”
“That was the initial concept – to convince people of our ability to do things that others can’t, and I think that translates into being a machine tool builder. People see what we can do in Formula One, and people believe Haas Automation can build world-class machine tools.”
COTA serves as a key component in Gene Haas’ vision.
“As an American team, having an F1 race on American soil is incredibly important,” Haas said. “When we arrived in Austin last year, I think we had proven that we could hold our own with the established teams of Formula 1. We had a very successful entrance into Formula 1.”
” We accomplished all of our major goals and, actually, surpassed what we expected at the beginning of the season. Now, we’re back with another year under our belts. We’ve been more consistent and we’ve scored more points. But we can still be better, and being able to showcase our growth and what we can accomplish on home soil is very gratifying.”
This article doesn’t really say that much, not that much which is important at least, but I have decided to give it my treatment anyway for a couple of reasons. After all I am an American, this is an American F1 blog, we are talking about an American F1 team and it really should be their weekend to shine when they race at America’s own home F1 circuit – COTA.
Roman Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have had some really good, better than good drives this year if at times a bit inconsistent. Haas as a team has a pretty impressive record as F1’s newest team, and have scored more points that any new team in its first year. I should also mention the many accomplishments that they have collected in their short time in what is possible the hardest formula to succeed in – I’m thinking of several top 10 qualifying results and several top ten race results as well.
So with that said I thought I should give the hometown team a bit of love. Here goes nothing.
Haas right now has collected 43 points this season and is sitting in seventh place in front of Renault, McLaren and Sauber. With this in mind I don’t think their current points tally tells the complete story. Personally I think they would be further ahead of Renault and much more closer to Toro Rosso if their driver line-up was different (again it is a consistency thing) and as they hopefully keep progressing surely the goal is to have at least one top notch driver in one of their cars that can provide a bit more feedback to the team and can also drive through chassis balance issues and continuously score points at each Grand Prix.
This year the livery is much more refined and I think it looks really smart and more contemporary looking (last year it was so boring) and I really like it despite the fact that the colors are dull gray, red and white, which reminds me I need to have a talk with the art department over at Haas and explain a thing or two about color theory and design (that really didn’t sound like love did it? Ok back to the love).
As far as teams go in F1, Haas is doing everything right so far, they had a steep learning curve but have really gotten on with the program and it shows, aside from a front wing that took a bit too long to sort out aerodynamically and a brake issue that plagued Grosjean for several races, the team has done a great job thus far.
In regards to its team boss and owner, I like the way Gene Haas goes about things – he has a real no-bulls**t approach. When he is interviewed there is no Ron-speak, there is no thwarting the question, there is just an honest and straightforward appraisal of that question, in usually a humble tone of voice and next question please.
And I really like that Haas had the balls to take the $100 million plunge in a sport so cutthroat, so determined to beat its participants down, that its history is littered with failed attempts left and right.
Let me repeat that, just to let it sink in a bit. In Haas’ first year of competition, America’s team forked out 117 million dollars. CRAP, that is a big piece of cheddar just to finish 8th overall despite all the unprecedented success when all is said and done, and if the real goal is just to sell more milling machinery that is quite a price tag to achieve that goal. Either way Haas gets to advertise on the world stage and America gets an F1 team (and maybe someday an American driver) which sounds like a deal to me.
So on the eve of the USGP I say, Haas F1, I salute you, I am in your corner for at least this race weekend, I am going to root for you to put in a great result and continue to build on the miracle that is America’s great hope in what is mostly dominated by not only European teams but the biggest names in racing; Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams, Renault, Red Bull, all titans in their own way. And shucks I just might even buy your team cap.
F1 is not for the faint of heart and to even survive is in its own way is a win, so stay with it Mr. Haas and maybe, just maybe the improbable will happen in the sport that is so impossible…
-j (go Haas F1!!!) p-