Haas to Base F1 Team in US; J.P. Montoya says, “he’s crazy”

gene-haas-nascar-640

All things considered, basing a Formula 1 team anywhere in the United States will certainly have its disadvantages. Looking at the eleven current F1 teams, all but three teams are based in England, and two of those are owned by Ferrari. The lone exception is Sauber, based in Hinwil, Switzerland, and are for all intents and purposes, a development team themselves with only one win and one pole position since the teams inception in 1993. combining the remaining  eight teams, one tactical nuke strike over Silverstone, UK would take them all out.

Proximity to one another has its advantages as teams develop technology, try new chassis designs, write new engine mapping programming and perform wind tunnel testing. Some  facilities and spaces are shared, not to mention the access to several world class, proven Formula 1 racing venues, all just a short drive away. However, that is not the only thing that makes these teams competitive. Contiguousness, while having some advantages, can also make for strange bedfellows, and as we have seen, create an atmosphere of nepotistic narcissism, where  egos and attitudes swap teams like chameleons changing colors.

I am so excited that Haas is getting into F1. I am so excited to have an American team

Penske F1 -circa 1977
Penske F1 -circa 1977

again. It’s been a long time.  1976 and 1977 saw the last two fully America owned F1 teams exit the sport. Parnelli and Penske (respectively) closed up shot and walked away from world’s premier auto-racing league. It’s been 36 years since Mario Andretti  won the F1 Driver’s Championship, the last American born driver to do so. The only other American who can make such a claim is Phill Hill, and that was back in 1961 – over half a century ago. Incredibly, there has never been an American Team with an American driver combo that has EVER won an F1 title. Ever. It’s high time we make that happen. It’s good for America, it’s good for F1, and it is good for F1 fans all over the world  – adding to that world-wide competitive spirit and patriotism that every nation wants to brag about.

There’s a reason that this blog is titled  American Tifosi.

Let’s face it, Hass has an uphill battle. So uphill that Juan Pablo Montoya calls Hass “crazy”.

“If he wants to set up a team here in the United States, I think that’s crazy,”

jpm-Williams2002
Juan Pablo Montoya with Williams F1 in 2002

But consider the source. Juan Pablo is a motor-racing journeyman who has had seats in American open-wheel cars (both Indy and CART Series), F1 series cars, and now drives in the US NASCAR Series, going fast, turning left, and typically finishing in unimpressive positions on the grid. After-all, there is a reason the word “former” appears before his name when talking about driving in F1.

American racing enthusiasts are ripe for the picking. The Indy car series is growing rapidly in popularity, compared to the years in languished after the CART/Indy split and having little to no TV revenue or exposure. The single F1 event in the US held these last two years in Austin, TX draws sell-out crowds and brings people in from all over the US – and the world!  I say kudos to Hass, and look forward to cheering for a US team, even if they do languish behind a bit – which I don’t think they will.

With the new rules for 2014, now is the perfect time for Haas to get involved. With the experience Haas has in U.S. open wheel racing, and great success when teamed with Paul Newman of the Newman/Haas days, Gene Haas is probably the most prepared motor-racing man in America to take on this task.  His pockets are in fact deep, his experience rich, he is mechanically talented and has an American drive to perform that comes from good old-fashioned American Ingenuity.

I will not venture into the realm of arrogant stupidity and say that Haas will be up to speed with the regular podium finishing teams by 2015, but I can hope. I’d like to se America back in F1, F1 would like tthe American fan base to grow, and I’d like to see Juan Pablo eat a big fat plate of crow.

 

Resources:

http://paddocktalk.com/news/html/story-248505.html

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20140417/F1/140419851

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