Why Gene Haas turned away massive investment bid… to Alpine’s gain

Thomas Maher
Gene Haas and Ryan Reynolds, 2023.

Gene Haas has revealed how he turned away a group of investors seeking to put their money into his F1 team.

Gene Haas has revealed how the consortium of investors that are now on board with Alpine had also approached his F1 team.

In mid-2023, Alpine announced they had secured £171 million in investment funds from a consortium of American investors.

Maximum Effort Investments, which includes Hollywood stars and Wrexham FC co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, together with Otro Capital and RedBird Capital, stumped up the cash to purchase a 24 per cent stake in Alpine.

Gene Haas turned away approach from Ryan Reynolds/Rob McElhenney investors

Alpine is set to use that investment money to improve their own infrastructures, with former team boss Otmar Szafnauer revealing how the investment partners had agreed that the money should be used to improve tools and infrastructure.

However, in an extensive interview with Formula 1’s official website, Haas team owner Gene Haas revealed that the investors had held talks with his outfit.

Following on from the parting of ways with former team boss Guenther Steiner, Haas revealed that his team was a subject of interest for the American investors, but that he hadn’t been impressed by their proposals.

“We have had outside investors come in, and they wanted to talk to us,” Haas said.

“They expect a 15 per cent rate of return every year. Give me a 15 per cent rate of return and I have a couple of hundred million dollars I’ll give you! They have high expectations, they have all kinds of rules.

“What their job is – they want to buy into you and, five years later, they want to make a $100m profit.

“Quite frankly, I don’t need that kind of oversight, from people who come in with $200m – it’s not enough to entice me to do that.”

The Haas F1 team is self-funded by Haas Automation, Gene’s own machine tooling company, and also secured a lucrative title sponsorship deal with financial giant Moneygram last year.

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Guenther Steiner: Money sometimes is overrated

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com during the summer of 2023, the now departed Steiner was asked about whether Haas needs further investment or whether their existing finances are enough to make the team competitive.

“I think it’s not about money, it’s about a business model,” Steiner said.

“If we want to keep with our business model and work with somebody, we don’t need to do this investment. If some people think they need to make the investment, it’s fine with me. But there is more than one business model – we’re back to what we came up with in 2014 with this new business model, and we want to keep it at the moment.

“So we don’t need to make this investment. It’s not just about money in Formula 1, I think money sometimes is overrated – people think, if you invest 100 million, you can beat Mercedes.

“You can invest 100 million in your facilities and in your equipment, but then you still need the people, because the difference is the people. And running different business models is a people thing, it’s not an equipment thing. So I think there’s more than one way to do this and we’re doing it the way we want to do it.”

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