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F1 set for 12th team on the grid as Gene Haas gets the green light from FIA
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Apr 2014   |  6:19 pm GMT  |  378 comments

Formula 1 will have 12 teams and 24 cars on the grid next season after the US based team Haas Racing was granted a licence to compete by the FIA.

This follows a consultation process, whereby the team’s plans, financial position and other aspects were carefully assessed by an FIA panel in early March. The panel comprised FIA deputy president for sport Graham Stoker, Charlie Whiting and other FIA figures as well as auditors, with input from Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM as well.

The team has just over nine months from now to produce a car to take part in the pre-season tests ahead of the 2015 season; quite a challenge.

Haas will be the first new team to join F1 since Caterham came on board in 2010. At that time there was supposed to be an American team called USF1, but this was not able to get everything together to make the grid. Virgin Racing, which has since been renamed Marussia, also joined the fray in 2010 as did HRT which failed after three seasons.

It is a huge undertaking to start an F1 team, a massive investment in infrastructure and personnel. There is little sign of really effective cost control on the horizon; the FIA has committed itself to bringing in a cost cap for 2015, but the level would be high initially and in any case there was not enough support for the latest plans at a recent meeting of teams in Bahrain.

Details of Haas’ plans will no doubt emerge in the coming weeks and months, but a UK base -or at least a European base – is essential from a logistical point of view.

Gunter Steiner, formerly of Jaguar Racing and early Red Bull fame, is part of the plans and has been to a number of races in the last 12 months, researching the project.

Haas is understood to be a customer of Ferrari for engines. Currently the Ferrari is the worst performing of the three units in competition but all manufactures will be able to carry out developments between the final race of 2014 and the end of February 2015 when a new homologation period will begin.

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

“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.”

There has been speculation about whether Haas might look to purchase Marussia, or even Caterham, should the teams be available for sale. The idea is to increase the grid size, but at the same time Caterham boss Tony Fernandes has said that if his team does not make a significant step this year he may well abandon F1.

There are other entities looking to start an F1 team, with former Midland Racing front man Colin Kolles heading another bid.

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hope the teams start fighting for championship points right at the start……

good luck to them………….


From what He’s told today at the press conference, I feel the “smart” way he talks about “without throwing money at it” is the way of CUSTOMER CARS (Like Moto GP), I cannot see any other way…

Buy a 1 or 2 year old car (probably a Ferrari), use some NASCAR level engineering and his wind tunnel to enhance performance, and try and leap frog ahead of money spending mid-fielders….

His aim seems to be to sell the Haas name make money out of this venture….

If this happens, it would be against the spirit of F1….which is all teams however small are to build their own cars….Will hurt a lot of egos…


He can’t use a year old Ferrari because there’s not a chance in hell it would meet the new regulations…unless you mean buy a year old Ferrari from this year, in which case there’s not a chance in hell that it would be competitive 🙂

I think every team owner who enters F1 is looking to make money from it to some degree, but I think very few actually do and though I wish Haas luck I’d be surprised if he was any exception.


He will have to start somewhere…given his position, even a 1-year old car tweaked for modern rules should be enough to start on…at least his minions will understand how the civilised world designs a race car 😉

Whichever method he uses, I dont think he will move away from “just purchase and race” philosophy…whether its an old car or a summ of parts (back end, systems etc..)….HI smain aim is not engineering excellence..its just selling the Haas name…

This approach is different to Marussia or Caterham, as they still design and manufacture their parts…chassis, suspensions, aero..theyve had to learn to come up to this level, however low compared to the leaders…


12th team??. Perhaps Haas will buyout Caterham?? Fernandes has already stated if he comes last again in the battle of the little leaguers he will quit………


24 cars next year? I would put a question mark after Caterham, Murussia and Lotus being on the grid next year.


Bernie said in an interview it takes $1 BILLION USD ($1,000,000,000) over four years to run a F1 team! That’s $250,000,000 USD per year at current rates. That is just to run a back of the pack to mid level team. Haas has got the financial might in place to do this. More power to him.

It would be great to have a US team in F1, hopefully with a US driver to build interest in F1 in the USA.

kenneth chapman

it now appears, according to one spokesperson, that the cars will be built and housed in the US at a huge new facility [125000 sq ft, whatever they are ] along with nascars.

as far as logistics go i’m not sure whether this will work but we will see as it progresses.


I apologise if I’ve missed it, but isn’t American engineering and aero a bit, well, uniform in the premium series like NASCAR and Indycar. In fact they are quite proud that NASCAR although looking different, have the same aero performance! Is there any base ability to design and engineer individual cars, a basic requirement for F1?


A US team in F1 can only be a good thing, surely. Imagine if F1 became successful all across The States……..think about the manufacturer interest it would generate. Toyota, BMW, VW/Audi and Nissan to mention a few. Not to mention Goodyear, Michelin and all the sponsors…..Coca Cola, Pepsi etc. The sky would be the limit


Well, they probably need a Maldanado or two to bring in all the money they need…


They’ll need two Maldonados for sure: One Maldonado to bring in cash for development and the other Maldonado to bring in cash for all the spare parts 😉


Or Maldonado as team boss, leaving the cars to be driven by proper racing drivers.



Could work, but I still think you’d still need an extra Maldonado to pay for for all the spare parts 🙂


Sad thing is we all know this project is going to fail and do nothing. Just like after 5 years for Caterham / Marussia after lots of investment. Barriers to entry in F1 are way too high.

F1 needs customer cars, then these new entrants may stand half a chance.


I still can’t see why having another struggling team at the back of the grid is good for the sport.

They will be permanently stuck at the far end of the grid with no sponsors in sight and two pay drivers. They will struggle for a couple of years, and then they will fold when the money runs out…

Yeah, this is good news indeed…


Never say never. All they need is some bright people.

RBR wasn’t that good, until Newey came in.


Let’s hope that this new US team gets its cars onto the grid next year; it would be good to see 24 cars running again. I remember the days when there were 30 cars and only the top 26 qualified to start.


Imagine Monaco…


I wish we could go back to the days where a small team could buy a car and show up for a single race in their home country and try to make the 107%.


A bit off topic but I thought i’d carry out an experiment . See if you prefer this race linked below to Bahrain 2014. In my opinion it’s irrelevant about the noise, but do you want this or Sakhir 2014.


I dont think money will be an issue, Haas Automation is thriving and there’s a waiting list for mist of the machines, their new UMC 750 5 axis machine has a waiting list of 13 months. Plus I’m sure that lots of people know who Gene Haas is and know what he has done with his business. I’m not saying sponsors will line up, but I think the man knows how to lure them. I wouldn’t be suprised if he has many on board already.

As far as how hugh of an undertaking it is, Americans tend to underestimate F1. They have a “can do it” attitude and I don’t think that works in F1, you can’t trow money and hours at a F1 car, it’s about more than that. They will need to hire the right people, and like someone already said, most of the ones you want already have contracts. They will need to get lucky with a young, unproven designer, or team of designers.

Now, tell me if I’m wrong about this next point. Let’s say they can build a car in, let’s say 3 months(too optimistic?), couldn’t they hire the tracks that are in the calendar? They would already have a target lap time, they would know where they need to be and they can test to their hearth content, so perhaps they ain’t be too far behind.

As far as the engine, or lump like brits call them, I sure as hell hope they don’t choose a new manufacturer, they don’t need that problem. They would be stupid to choose anything other than the Merc. It’s THE platform to run for a new team, it has 0, zero problems.

Good luck Gene Haas!!


An interesting point in there. F1 over recent years has been recycling the same designers from team to team for a while and some of them are getting fairly old.

Where (or when) is the window of opportunity for a fresh new designer to come in and have the chance to really shake things up.


“Where (or when) is the window of opportunity for a fresh new designer to come in and have the chance to really shake things up.”

Easy one: that would be ‘today’ and in Maranello!


It doesn’t matter who runs the team, it will still have a Ferrari PU.


If the aero can make up for the lack of power then they might do a RBR and still be competitive.


hope gene haas still has ross braun’s phone number in his speed dial?


If he looks, he will probably find it filed under “Brawn”…


I hope so also

roberto marquez

James are there any North American drivers with the license to drive in Formula 1 ? If yes who are they ? Thanks for your time.


Alex Rossi at Caterham

Connor Daly will probably be eligible too via GP3 and GP2


I doubt it would take too much to get Josef Newgarden a super license with his IndyCar experience, and I rate him much higher than Rossi and Daly.


Conor, not Connor. Pet hate.

Ryan Hunter-Reay would be eligible for a Superlicence due to winning the Indycar championship in 2012. Little old though.


USGP 2.0?

I jest, I want this to happen. Although the way things are going, I imagine this will split the pack into two groups, i.e. the established teams and the “newbies” – Caterham, Marussia, Haas and the Serbian team that may also be entering.


F1 has had two tiers since 2010. The new US team will either join them for a while or be in their own tier.


First off I’m a fan of f1but do not know to much about the details of the sport. My question is hass will be an American team could they not use an American manufactor. I think it would be intresting to see a chevy of ford in f1 and a f1 manufactor like ferrari in nascar


What American manufacturers? GM are on the verge of being sued into oblivion, Chrysler’s being bought up by Fiat (who own Ferrari) and Ford, who might come back, have a well earned reputation of being “a dollar late, a dollar short”.


afraid the american scene uses non- american equipment eg indy car uses chassis from an italian company and the engines are either british or japanese

anf companies like ferrari or mercedes in nascar ? am afraid the good old boys that comprise the audience are not exactly the target market for such companies


I doubt they can develop a power unit in just nine months… Merc spent three years developing theirs, Ferrari and Renault probably probably did so too, and they, especially Ferrari, cocked up horribly.


especially Ferrari? As least theirs ran reliably, despite slowly. Better than Renault’s not running at all, at least in pre-season tests.


Richard, you can’t be certain to say Renault’s improvement of form is down to improvement in power. We all know Newey is an aero genius and any loss in horsepower can be made up by aero efficiency. We still see glitches and problems with the Red Bull cars that are powered by the Renault PU.

With Ferrari, yes they are slow, but is it purely down to PU problems? Or could it be aero that’s causing problems?

When Hamilton first joined Merc AMG from McLaren, both powered by the same engines, immediately Hamilton noticed a huge difference in aero which he voiced out, something that Merc seriously lacked. Take a more obvious example, the F-duct McLaren that stalled air vs the non-F-duct featured Merc. Same power unit, huge straightline speed difference.


And look where Renault are standing now. They have massively improved, the Italians however…



What s your take on the other mention Forza Rossa. Whilst I’m all for a bigger grid I’m just wondering whether the name may be confusing when put together with toro Rosso


We coped with two Lotus’.


“Forza Rossa” would only make sense if they were to be based in Italy. Like Torro Rosso does.

“Haas” is actually Dutch for “Hare”. This could make up for a great logo …


I think Lotus already beat them to that one 🙂


Forza Rossa isn’t that Italian for red force? is it just me that detects a faint wiff of prancing horse taking a leaf out of an energy drinks book


I can’t see Ferrari allowing a team called Forza Rossa.


It will be a struggle


Gene Haas knows what he is doing. If anyone can come into F1 from scratch and succeed, it’s him. He’s got the money, and he is a racer who knows what it takes to win.

The rest of F1 may laugh at him for the NASCAR connections, but NASCAR is every bit as competitive and cutthroat as F1, and running a top level NASCAR team is not exactly a cheap undertaking.

There is a rumor now that Ford is thinking about coming back to F1. This could be something to look out for in connection with Haas.

Hopefully we’ll see an American driver in F1 sometime soon. Maybe this is Alexander Rossi’s ticket to the grid?


Hi Paige, Interested to know where you heard the Ford rumour- re my post above- could their be Ford Cosworth rebirth- that would be tremendous. Its also the right time with synergies between road and race cars becoming more prevalent with these PU and discussions of cost savings now that global economies are coming out of recession.

I couldnt agree more about Haas- I was a fan of his team when i used to follow Indy & Champ cars a few years back. Definitely if anyone could pull it off- he can. But Like everyone else he will follow the same challenges – Sponsorship because this is what stopped his Champ car aspirations in 2012. Im guessing he would have already a solid business case and long term deals being signed.


Surely he’s going to buy Caterham/Marussia/Sauber/Force India rather than come up with a whole new entity?


He would have already have done that by now then.


If that was his plan, he wouldn’t have needed to go through the entry process with the FIA.

kenneth chapman

i somehow seem to think that this new team will find it extremely difficult to make any solid impression.

if they are to be truly an american team then they need to have a large component of the team as generic american otherwise it is just another startup.

i am certain that they have done due diligence and they wouldn’t be going there if they weren’t confident in being a meaningful presence. which then leads to a conundrum..from where do they operate? obviously they would need, ideally, to be located in the UK but in doing that alongside employing non americam personnel would dilute the ‘american’ flavor.

i will follow this with great interest as when the USF1 was on the table it seemed as though there may actually be an american team forming. not so as it turned out. a pity, as the americans do have some stunning technology but not in F1.


I can guarantee you any generic American will be a large component of the team 🙂


Glad to see an American team joining the field. I would have like to see them bring a constructor along, but I suppose the investment required to produce a PU is just too much for that. Haas must be praying that Ferrari greatly improve their unit before the start of next season, as a first season must be problematic enough without having to worry about lacking in the power department. Hopefully, no team will pull out meanwhile as it would be great to have 24 cars on the grid.

With regards to Honda. Will they be supplying McLaren only next year, or are there rumors of other team teaming with them?

Anyways, good luck to them and lets hope that they are able to produce a descent car and show a bit of competitiveness. Marc

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