Haas F1 Team owner Gene Haas has praised the success of his squad in its inaugural season. The Ohio-born businessman sounded positive about the unique approach his team took with its organizational model.
The American team joined F1 at the start of the year. It has collected five point-scoring positions so far this season with Romain Grosjean, summing up to 29 points.
The team enjoys acknowledgement among its rival teams despite early pessimism towards the American newcomer.
The team took on a unique approach with its close collaboration with Ferrari and Dallara. Its headquarter is based in Kannapolis, US, but it also has a centre in Banbury, UK. Haas also has engineers in Italy as both its engine supplier Ferrari and chassis partner Dallara are based there.
Despite the huge distance between its three bases, and after initial negetivity faded, the team's early success triggered applause for pioneering a low-cost model that could allow other small teams to enter the pinnacle of motorsport.
Gene Haas revealed that the new model was not easy to establish. The team was founded in 2014, but the foundation for the future setup was established much earlier.
„I think when we first had this plan, it actually goes back probably almost five years ago when they were talking about customer cars, where we are now has completely changed. It’s almost like running a race. You have to very, very quickly be able to change your strategy and change your focus and everything you do to get to the finish line.”
There were various models on the table, but the incredible complexity of F1 urged Haas to take a different approach. It feared that the normal route would have taken too much time to bring success.
„There were a lot of changes in terms of, do you build everything yourself as a typical constructor would or do you go, like some teams, where you buy your engine and transmission from some people, or do you run a customer car? Those were the three decisions that early on we had to make. Customer cars were eliminated by the teams’ agreement not to have one, so that went away, and then once we became a little bit involved it was pretty obvious that these cars are technically incredibly challenging and there’s no way you can build even a small portion of them in five or ten years.”
The American businessman who is also a co-owner of a NASCAR team said that the team principal of his squad Günther Steiner played a key role in establishing of the business model.
„Guenther developed a relationship with Ferrari and Dallara and that’s the direction we went in. And it’s worked well for us. I think we’ve actually, from a budget standpoint, have been rather economical in how we run our business.”
Haas is confident that the team’s approach is the right one for them to make further steps forward in the future.
„Just like everybody in this room tries to look at the regulations and tries to figure out ‘how can I make a car that will comply with the regulations but still give me an advantage over the competitors’, our business model in terms of being a constructor has… the way we do things is substantially different than a lot of our competitors but we feel it gives us an advantage with the rules too,” added Haas.