Twenty-nine year old Frenchman, Romain Grosjean who is currently racing under the Lotus F1 team colours has secured his drive for the upcoming season with America’s newest F1 team. The team is piloted by 62-year old Gene Haas of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team’s patriarch started out by inventing a mechanical indexer for his start-up machine shop that went on to give birth to Haas Automation Inc. in 1983.
Fast forward 31 years to January of 2014, Haas himself confirmed the reports of an FIA submission of his interest in entering the Formula One championship in 2015 under the name Haas Formula. On 11 April 2014, Haas announced that he was granted a license from the FIA. On May 28, however, it was revealed that the team would delay its debut until the 2016 season. In September the same year, they took up current their current name – Haas F1 Team. In December 2014, it was further reported that Haas purchased major assets from the bankrupted Marussia F1 team.
During Marussia’s nightmare second-half season last year, the team had failed to show up during the last four races, which were then disbanded and auctioned off. Haas acquired the team’s base in the UK as well as data and designs for the 2015 car, which was already well developed with a scale wind-tunnel model. Interestingly, teams aren’t restricted to regulations before the season starts and Haas plans to test the cars vigorously before the 2016 pre-season testing begins.
Having never met Gene Haas in the flesh, one would be mistaken for thinking he is an extraordinarily convincing individual when you consider that team principal is former Jaguar and Red Bull Racing technical director Günther Steiner. Not to mention also that chief aerodynamicist is Ben Agathangelou who started out in the McLaren Honda garage in 1994.
Fast forward today, the North Carolina-based team announced rather unwittingly that its primary driver for next year’s season will be none other than Romain Grosjean. Powering the Frenchman is a powertain purportedly sourced from Ferrari and tasked with designing and building the chassis is a job for Italian manufacturer Dallara.
Much has been happening around the sphere that is Formula One. From the rumoured tyre supplier change. to Bernie Ecclestone’s dwindling popularity rating amongst fans and for those in the sport. But with all that, we remain rather chuffed about F1’s latest anglo-american team.