An American team in Formula 1

Gene Haas

American motor racing has had its own system and norms and one has witnessed many American drivers make it to Formula 1. But NASCAR and IndyCar racing have been by far more popular with the American race fans. However, despite impressive circuits like Indianapolis, Austin and New Jersey, there has been no American team in Formula 1 since Penske F1 team in 1976.

In 2010, a US Formula 1 team was successfully registered, but failed to sign the Concorde agreement. The team was fronted by Ken Anderson (former technical director of Haas CNC Racing) and a journalist Peter Windsor (former Williams and Ferrari manager). They would have been the first Formula 1 team to be based outside Europe. Later it was reborn as Cypher but they were never able to make it to the 2011 season either.

Last year business tycoon and NASCAR team owner Gene Haas announced his interest in Formula 1 and his aim to launch a Formula 1 team in time for the 2016 season. Haas’ motorsport involvement started in 2003 when his company Haas CNC Racing was a sponsor of Hendrick Motorsports. In 2009 he partnered with three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart to form the NASCAR team Stewart- Haas Racing. Currently the team fields Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, and Kurt Busch.

So far what one knows is that the team will be announcing its drivers by September 2015 and it’ll be interesting to see how it benefits American drivers in the existing junior series of Formula racing.

FIA had issued an entry bid for teams wanting to enter Formula 1 in November 2013 for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The deadline for entries was January 2014, however it wasn’t until April 2015 that the World Motorsport Council secured Haas’ entry into Formula 1. So far what one knows is that the team will be announcing its drivers by September 2015 and it’ll be interesting to see how it benefits American drivers in the existing junior series of Formula racing.

The last American in this sport was Scott Speed, who drove with Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Former Formula 1 driver Derek Daly’s son Conor Daly raced recently in GP3 and GP2 but, had to abort the campaign due to funding issues. Despite some stunning one off race drives in IndyCar this year, he is still struggling to secure a full-time drive. An American team in Formula 1 will lead to American drivers in the feeder series getting both a boost and a platform.

Today American motor racing has become an IndyCar- and NASCAR-specific scenario, with the two models being much more popular with the diverse audience. One has seen notable Americans like Mario Andretti Phil Hill become champions in Formula 1 and others like Dan Gurney win races there. Andretti was by far the most successful and versatile American driver, winning titles in Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, sports cars, including the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans race. However, he was born in Italy, and Phil Hill remains the only American-born driver to win a Formula 1 title.

As of today, Haas F1 has sealed a multi-year engine deal with Ferrari. The team owns Windshear, the largest and most advanced rolling-road wind tunnels in the world, located in Concorde. However, for their 2016 Formula 1 car, they will be using Ferrari’s wind-tunnel development facility at Maranello. Simultaneously, Italian-based company Dallara is assisting with the design and development of the car chassis.

The team has its headquarters in Kannapolis in North Carolina, alongside the NASCAR team Stewart-Haas, but they have also bought the Marussia team’s Banbury facility to have a base in Europe for their UK operations. For American talents in GP2 like Alexander Rossi, Conor Daly, or drivers such as Santino Ferucci and Ryan Tveter in FIA Formula 3, an American team’s presence in Formula 1 will give them a new window to secure a Formula 1 drive in the near future. The team also needs American drivers to galvanize US interest in Formula 1, so it’s a mutually beneficial situation to all.




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