I listened with something between awe, astonishment and resignation to US billionaire Gene Haas as he gave details about his plans to enter Formula 1 with a new team in either 2015 or 2016.
Given that the existing F1 teams are already working on their 2015 cars and Haas does not even have a factory, let alone staff with any serious F1 experience, the whole thing sounded, quite frankly, ludicrous.
It might have made sense if Haas had decided to buy a team such as Marussia, which would give him a decent starting point, but the machine tool magnate made it quite clear that he is not going to go down that path…
“We’re not going to be a European‑led team,” he said. “We're going to be an American‑led team and we'll do it the way we think is the most efficient. We're going to spend our money wisely. We're going to do it with an American flair for design and efficiencies, and that's how we're going to control our costs."
Haas admitted that it would be impossible to build a chassis themselves. “It would be insurmountable to say that we're going to build a chassis by ourselves and engineer it, figure out how to do it and hire all the people in nine months,” he said. “We’re going to have to compromise on what we do as far as the construction of the car, and we're going to have to try to acquire whatever we can.”