Haas admits continuing in F1 is not a given

Date published: March 4 2020

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Yet to commit to a new Concorde Agreement, Gene Haas will see how 2020 begins for his Haas team before deciding to stick around or not.

Last year Haas recorded its worst season in Formula 1, finishing second from last in the Constructors’ Championship.

It was a trying season for the team who not only chased its tail with updates for the VF-19 but also lost title sponsor Rich Energy.

This season marks the last that Haas is committed to Formula 1 as, like its rivals, the team has yet to sign a new Concorde Agreement with Liberty Media for 2021.

Haas is holding off on that until he has a better understanding of where his team is in the pecking order.

“I’m just kind of waiting to see how this season starts off,” he told Autosport.

“If it starts off strong then maybe there’s a possibility that we can continue.

“But if we have another bad year, then it would not be that favourable.

“We did five years. That was really the test – we’re going to do this for five years, see how it goes and evaluate it and then we’ll decide whether to go forward.

“I’m not saying we won’t be back. It has to be evaluated. To do it for another five years, though, that would be a big commitment.”

He added: “It’s just a challenge.

“It’s a difficult sport. It’s extremely expensive.

“It’s time consuming and it puts a huge amount of stress on the teams to compete. It’s not really beneficial to the teams that aren’t in the top four or five.”

Unlike many rivals who are eager to see how the new 2021 regulations play out next season, Haas is focused mainly on the cost of introducing a completely new car.

“With the new regulations coming in 2021, the big question is how much is that going to cost?” he said.

“There’s so much change going on in Formula 1, you really have to ask yourself is it really going to be worth the expense to try to implement all these changes?

“I know everyone thinks the changes are good, but – boy – they’re expensive.”

The American doesn’t believe the sport’s 175m budget cap will result in smaller teams such as Haas breaking even.

“It’s definitely not financially worth it, I can tell you that,” he added.

“The business model does not favour the smaller teams.

“As everybody knows with the way the money has been distributed 70 percent of it goes to the top three teams and 30 percent of it goes to the other seven teams. It’s not a good economic model.

“At least in our condition, you’re only paid about a third of what it actually costs to run a team in Formula 1.

“So, from a business model it doesn’t do that well.

“Obviously, every team has a different nature as to why they do it. Some of it is primary sponsorship. Ferrari is that they’ve been doing it for 60 years.

“But they take home enough money to actually make the $175 million cap, but a lot of the other teams operate on a quarter of that. So, how can you really run a race team with that kind of disparity?”

PlanetF1’s first podcast looks at the Haas situation…

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