NASCAR team owner Gene Haas has already set his sights on fielding a team for the 2015 Formula 1 season, and it’s purported that he even already has the approval of Bernie Ecclestone.
There hasn’t been an American team present in Formula 1 since the late 1980s, and an attempt by a North Carolina firm to field a team for the 2010 season failed to materialize. However, Haas appears to have significantly more resources than his predecessors who have tried and failed. As the owner of a successful NASCAR team and a billion dollar automation and machine company, he’s been pouring resources into the prospective team with hopes of being ready by the time the 2015 season kicks off. With the addition of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas in 2012, and plans for an additional Grand Prix on the west coast or NYC up in the air, it seems as though the sport may finally be headed towards overcoming its long history of stagnation and hardship in the US.
While Haas’ operation has yet to get approval from the FIA, he has won the approval of Fromula 1’s chief promoter, Bernie Ecclestone, and he doesn’t expect there to be too much more resistance to getting his team approved for the 2015 season; however, he has stated that he must know soon in order to make the necessary preparations and be ready in time. Haas hopes to use a future Formula 1 team to bolster his company’s global presence and to better promote his product and overall racing brand. A former Red Bull technical director, Gunther Steiner, is involved with the project, though it is presently unknown what other financial backers are involved. The prospective team would be based in North Carolina, down the road from Haas’ other racing operations, making it the only Formula 1 team to not be based in Europe.
While Haas has substantial resources at this disposal, it has yet to be seen whether or not the operation will be up for the tremendous task of fielding a Formula 1 team. According to Ecclestone, there is also another team, based in Serbia, under the direction of former HRT boss Colin Krolles which has also applied to join the 2105 season; however, significant doubts for this team remain. With a couple of current Formula 1 teams suffering financial troubles that may threaten their future, it may be necessitated to add new teams in order for the Formula 1 drivers’ pool to remain deep enough.