Haas Formula to make F1 debut in 2016

Haas Formula to make F1 debut in 2016

0861LW1D5906Gene Haas has confirmed that his new Formula 1 team will make its debut in 2016, after it was decided that accepting the FIA’s berth for next season would be too soon.

Speaking to Forbes, Haas revealed that the decision to postpone his team’s entry was a difficult one, but ultimately had to be done. However, building work in preparation for the team is going ahead as scheduled, with the F1 addition to his NASCAR operation being completed in the next two months.

“The plan is absolutely to launch in 2016 and we are fully committed to that,” Haas explained. “I don’t think there is any doubt about that whatsoever.

“I think we will be a better team because we will have more time to plan and we will be able to do a lot more engineering in Kannapolis. We have been working on a building there since November of last year as part of the expansion of the NASCAR team.

“In about a month we will have the NASCAR site open then about a month later we will have the Formula One site operational so we can go in there.”

He made no secret of his frustration, though, and this news will undoubtedly fuel the skeptic’s fire.

“From a personal standpoint, I really would have liked to go racing in 2015. It was hard to sit there and say no. Trust me, I really wanted to go. The first year is always going to be going to be tough but I think that by waiting a year we will probably only have six months of it being really tough because we will be better prepared.”

Haas also revealed that he is no longer looking to set up a European base in Italy. Initially, a workshop in Milan was planned to complement the main base back in North Carolina. However, after looking into its viability, the decision has now been taken to look for other bases, with one in the UK being favoured.

“We had a timetable and it seemed that all the events were being delayed, for whatever reason, by a month or so,” he said. “The final delay was that we were planning on opening a shop in Milan and then it came back from accountants that you can’t really have a presence in Milan because that will cause a tax presence so it just started getting convoluted.

“We decided that it would be better to be 100% sure we are going to make the race rather than scramble and not make the race.

“Our plan is to have aero in Charlotte and engine work in Europe. We are still looking at having a shop in Europe. England maybe would be the place to go because that’s where most of the Formula One teams are.

“We can’t do anything in Italy because of the tax presence there but you obviously have Formula One itself in the south of England so that would be a potential site.”

Although this news will come as some disappointment to US fans craving a home team, it is perhaps the sensible option to carefully plan the entry for 2016 instead of rushing to be on the grid next season.

In other news, Forza Rossa is reported to have been granted a second berth on the 2015 grid. The Romanian-backed entry is led by former F1 journeyman Colin Kolles, and although most of the details remain unknown, it is thought to be gunning for a place on next season’s grid instead of deferring like Haas.

Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.

Luke Smith

Luke Smith

Luke Smith is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Richland F1. Having started the website in March 2012, he has gone on to become one of the youngest members of the Formula 1 paddock after joining American broadcaster NBC Sports at the beginning of the 2013 season. Luke now works as the network's lead F1 writer, supporting the TV coverage on nbcsports.com. Luke's work has also been featured on NBC News, Yahoo! Sports, Driven Magazine and the Bahrain Mirror, and he has also appeared on CNBC's TV series "One Second in F1 Racing".