Is Haas Formula, the new American F1 team heading for England?

Posted on 5 Jun 2014 by Callum Bentley

American businessman and motorsport team owner Gene Haas highlights his intention to base his European Formula 1 operation in England when the new team begins racing in 2016.

In an interview with Forbes, Haas said the design and aerodynamics side of the new American outfit – Hass Formula – would be based in Kannapolis, North Carolina where his current NASCAR team is also based. He said the engine department is likely to be based in England after original intentions to base this side of the team in Milan was quashed due to Italy’s tax regulations.

Speaking with Forbes, Haas revealed his plan to launch the team in 2016 instead of 2015, deciding this would allow a more thorough team building process to ensure they could be competitive from the team’s first race.

“The plan is absolutely to launch in 2016 and we are fully committed to that. I don’t think there is any doubt about that whatsoever,” he told Forbes. “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 1 site operational so we can go in there.

“Our plan is to have aero in Charlotte and engine work in Europe.” He said. “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 1 teams are. We can’t do anything in Italy because of the tax presence there but you obviously have Formula 1 itself in the south of England so that would be a potential site.”

Besides the proximity to an already well-established supply chain in central England, particularly in the Motorsport Valley area, further benefits include Formula 1’s assistance to teams in the area including free air transport of their cars, equipment and spare parts to and from London and Munich.

Already, eight of the 11 Formula 1 teams are based in England’s Motorsport Valley. However, if Haas wants to make a serious impact on the financially taxing sport, his team will have to invest massively to build a team from scratch.

“I’m planning on going to Montreal,” he told Forbes. “There’s a lot of logistics that we are going to learn and this weekend we are going to be asking a lot of questions like ‘How do you get that box from here to there?’ ‘What are the logistics?’ ‘Where are all the airplanes that these things go in and what do they look like?’

“We are looking for transporters, infrastructure and pit boxes. We have got to buy all that stuff because we are starting from scratch. If you had that stuff in place that would make a big difference. We don’t have any of that at the moment. The good news is that it will all be new.”