The Haas F1 Team are the newest outfit to line up on the Formula 1 grid. Founded in 2014 by the NASCAR American stock car owner Gene Haas, the team made their debut in the 2016 Australian Grand Prix and amazingly scored points in that race, with a sixth-place finish.
Haas became the first US squad to compete in Grand Prix racing since the Haas-Lola team of 1985-6 which was run by the late Carl Haas – unrelated to the owner of the current organisation.
The day-to-day running of the team is handled by the genial Guenther Steiner, who achieved fame on Formula 1’s Drive to Survive Netflix series thanks to his no-nonsense views, delivered with his broad Germanic accent – a legacy of growing up in the northernmost part of Italy, close to the Austrian border.
Since arriving in the sport, Haas have redefined the way a Formula 1 team operates. They are a small, efficiently run group and the secret to their success is the partnership they have formed with Ferrari. The traditional method is for a Formula 1 team to design and build their own car in-house, but Haas have taken a different approach.
As well as supplying power units, Ferrari also support Haas with all the parts of the car they do not need to build themselves, such as the rear suspension and gearbox. This process of sharing parts is allowed within the F1 rulebook and saves Haas time and money with regards to design and construction.
With so much manufacturing out-sourced, Haas don’t operate out of a single factory like other Formula 1 teams do and are split over three locations across the world. Close to Ferrari, they have a chassis design department in Parma. There is a research and development centre in North Carolina in the USA – and finally a logistics hub in Banbury, close to Silverstone in the UK.
Haas’ lean business model led to an impressive eighth overall in their first season in F1 and they improved to a commendable fifth in 2018. But since then, they have struggled with chassis/tyre issues and have been hit with financial pressures during the pandemic. As a result, their current car is a complete ‘carry-over’ from last year which has not included any upgrades throughout the season. In addition, the team said goodbye in 2020 to two long-standing stalwarts of the team: Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.
The latter made headlines around the world following a crash in last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix when he burst into flames after his Haas struck the barrier at high speed on the opening lap. Thankfully he was able to escape the wreckage with little more than burns on the back of his hands. Grosjean’s survival is a testimony, not only to the strength of a modern F1 car, but to the safety measures introduced both trackside and the speed of the emergency response crew.
This year the team has two rookies: Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin who will continue with the team again into next season.