- Haas Formula
Haas turned down US F1 investment opportunity
Gene Haas says his entry into Formula One represents a big turnaround in his opinion of the sport after he rejected the opportunity to personally invest in the ill-fated US F1 team.
The US F1 team was a failed venture backed by YouTube founder Chad Hurley and former Haas NASCAR team member Ken Anderson which failed to make the grid in 2010. Though US F1 was due to use Haas' North Carolina base, which will be the headquarters for Haas Formula from 2016, the American says he was not a fan of the proposed entry.
"I had known Ken Anderson for a while and he introduced me to his US F1 project," Haas told Forbes. "I saw a little bit of it with that YouTube person Chad Hurley who was pretty enthusiastic about it and was trying to get me involved but I was saying that it's not something I'm really interested in."
An approach from former Red Bull technical director Guenther Steiner changed Haas' mind for a fresh entry, as well as the relaxing of customer car rules from 2015 onwards which allows teams to buy more parts from other outfits on the grid.
"Maybe a year after talking to Ken Anderson, Guenther kind of approached [NASCAR team vice president] Joe Custer and myself and he said 'hey would you guys be interested in doing a customer type deal?' He was saying we could do this for a very reasonable price and that discussion went on for a while back and forth. I started watching the races more out of curiosity about it.
"I was kind of amazed that there weren't more people trying to do it. There are so many super rich people in America I kind of thought 'why haven't any other Americans done this?' There's a lot of interest but nobody seems to want to sit round the table and do it."