Now the owner of both a NASCAR and Formula One team, Gene Haas finds himself in the unique position of dealing with a pair of marquee sanctioning bodies that operates in two fundamentally different but equally successful ways.
He knows by now exactly how F1 works and has proven that he has matured from his crash ridden early days into an aggressive driver who can still bring the car back in one piece, which is a fine balance.
“While I’m committed to giving my absolute best to my current team in these last five races, I am very excited for what the future holds at Haas”.
Several big names are associated with the team already, with Germany’s Gunther Steiner, former technical director at Jaguar and Red Bull Racing, to join as team principal. “Our goal is to race competitive teams…. the reality of it was that a rookie driver with a rookie team just isn’t a good fit”. “He gives strong, specific feedback as to how the car performs”.
Our primary goal here is to show that, as an American manufacturer, that we can compete in the most difficult, competitive series in the world of auto racing, and that was Formula One.
This is a new opportunity with a new team that is taking a very different approach to Formula One.
The Ferrari connection will have been the clincher for the Frenchman however, with the Italian team likely to be looking for a replacement for Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen at the end of next season.
The 29-year-old Frenchman, despite an error-prone start to his grand prix career, is recognised as one of the best drivers on the grid.
“So I like the idea with the partnership with Ferrari, I like the way everything has been going, I like the fact it’s going slowly but nicely and as I said in the media recently I’m very happy that I made that decision”.
Despite a new engine formula last year that returned turbochargers to the sport for the first time since 1988, Grosjean regularly outpaced his teammate throughout the year and recorded eighth-place finishes in Spain and Monaco. Money problems caused them to be locked out of their hospitality at the Japanese Grand Prix, and they missed the start of free practice in Hungary when Pirelli refused to release their tyres.
The team are the first U.S.-owned entrants in Formula One since 1986.