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Haas team granted entry to F1

ESPN Staff
April 11, 2014 « Ricciardo one of the best - Horner | Driver data will remain open - Wolff »
Gene Haas has been in NASCAR since 2002 © Getty Images
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A team owned by NASCAR's Gene Haas has been formally accepted to join the F1 grid, and could be racing as soon as the 2015 season.

In December the FIA opened a tender for a 12th team and Haas quickly became one of the leading contenders to take on the position. Originally Bernie Ecclestone voiced doubts about the financial validity of Haas' bid but has recently changed his opinion on the proposed team.

The bid, which was formally submitted in February, was signed off at the FIA's April 11 meeting. Haas has revealed his relief and excitement at being accepted into the sport, which he will likely do in 2015 or 2016.

"Obviously, we're extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA," Haas said. "It's an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula 1.

"Now, the really hard work begins. It's a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition."

Haas co-owns the Stewart-Haas outfit in NASCAR with Tony Stewart, which won the 2011 Sprint Cup championship. Haas' outfit will be the first American team in F1 since the 1970s. USF1 was granted entry for the 2010 season the last time the FIA opened their application process, but they failed to make the grid due to financial difficulties.

Bernie Ecclestone has also hinted there is at least one more team who could join the grid for next year and the FIA confirmed it was investigating further a new entry called Forza Rossa.