Haas Reiterates Desire To Form New F1 Team Despite Skepticism From Ecclestone
Stewart-Haas Racing co-Owner Gene Haas yesterday "repeated his desire to form America's first F1 entrant since Penske Racing competed" on the circuit from '74-78, according to John Oreovicz of ESPN.com. Haas is "determined to field a start-up team out of the Charlotte area, most likely from a new facility." During NASCAR's media tour, Haas said, "We've looked at buying a team, but there are problems associated with that. First of all, it's tremendously expensive, with a lot of existing personnel you're responsible for. Some of them have a lot of debt you would have to pay off." He added, "Starting our own team has its problems too, but the good thing is that it would be an American team." Haas acknowledged that "one problem he needs to overcome is the stigma" left by USF1, which attempted to join F1 in '09, but "never came close to getting off the ground." Haas: "When the head of Formula One says, 'You can't afford this,' he probably knows what he's talking about. I think he's just being as brutally honest with us as he can. It was a little disheartening. If he's telling me I'm not going to get a license, I appreciate that. It's better to know now than later." Asked if he could afford starting a team, Haas said, "I won't know until I try." SHR co-Owner Tony Stewart "voiced his support for his partner's efforts ... though he quickly clarified that he is not part of the proposed team." Haas said that the "next deadline for the application process is Feb. 10, and he expects to learn by the end of March whether he will be able to move ahead with his plans" (ESPN.com, 1/27).
SMOKE SIGNALS: Stewart during yesterday's media tour said that he "saw no reason he could not return" to form following a dirt track accident last fall that left him with a broken leg. In N.Y., Viv Bernstein writes Stewart "needs to be back in the racecar for the team to succeed." Stewart's crew chief Greg Zipadelli said, “There’s a lot of fans that were disappointed, and sponsors, the 265 employees that we have, they’re counting on him to come back and be the Tony Stewart of old." Bernstein: "That is the hope of NASCAR, too." Stewart, as "temperamental as he is talented, is one of the sport’s most popular drivers" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/28).