HomeFORMULA 1

Haas hopes to bounce back, from worst in F1 to ‘Team USA’

Haas is known to most Americans as one of the worst teams in Formula One, holding the bottom spot throughout the four seasons that were captured


Haas is known to most Americans as one of the worst teams in Formula One, holding the bottom spot throughout the four seasons that were captured in a Netflix series.

But that was before using the new car this year, a forced change after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The team also adopted a super-fast engine from Ferrari.

Now Haas has the attention, he’s scoring points, and he’s hoping to convince fans at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix that they can consider him Team USA.

“We are absolutely the American team. We are licensed in the United States, there are not many more American companies than Haas Automation and Gene Haas,” said Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 principal and resident of Mooresville, North Carolina.

Steiner was more into two-seaters and oval tracks when he was approached by Haas, the California businessman and machine-building company founder.

They both decided they wanted Haas Automation to go global. Steiner had already reached the highest level in NASCAR when he brought in Tony Stewart as co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and won the Cup Series title.

The business strategy has been a winner for the Haas machinery company. Motorsport has been grim since he bought the assets of the defunct Marussia F1 team.

Haas’ debut was postponed from 2015 to 2016 and what started as a mid-table organization gradually worsened to leave the team without any title aspirations.

The plan was to wait for the new 2022 regulations and the development of the new car. Haas subsequently got rid of veteran drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen and replaced them with a pair of rookies who didn’t stand a chance last season, in a car unable to compete.

Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin did not add any points and the rookies did not have a good relationship. Mazepin was widely criticized for having that seat: his father is the owner of the Russian fertilizer company, Uralkali, which was Haas’ main sponsor.

The 2022 regulations were believed to help Haas. But the team is also a Ferrari client and the Italian team was on the way to being better – Charles LeClerc is the leader of the standings – and his engines would help Haas.

And then everything fell apart with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Gene Haas couldn’t keep Uralkali on his vehicles — Dimitri Mazepin is an associate of President Vladimir Putin — and the logos were removed. After a week of uncertainty, Haas let Mazepin and his father’s company go.

It should have been a disaster, but instead it has been the surprise of the season.