Haas F1 has unlikely supporter over customer model

Just before the Bahrain Grand Prix, Williams F1 technical brain, Pat Symonds, registered his complaint over the business model Haas F1 employed to enter Formula 1 on a parts list basis only making the bare minimum required by the FIA and sourcing everything else from Ferrari and Dallara. He felt the team may have obeyed the letter of the law but missed the spirit of the law when entering on the must-produce list.

After Bahrain, some folks were wondering just how many other teams may start raising an eyebrow over their model given that they have leap-frogged many smaller teams and secured two top-6 finishes on the trot.

If you linger on this side of the pond, you’ll get a staunch “Sc***w you!” out American fans and understandably so but I’ve tried to take an unbiased approach to it. Yes, I love the fact that Haas F1 are doing well and as an American, I’m elated about it.

While the past decade has seen F1 pundits claiming that America needs to have an American driver in order to grow the sport in the US. They use Mario Andretti as an example but that dog don’t hunt. I’ve argued that this notion is false. What they really need is an American team and a team that is winning. Mario may have done well and gained the attention of Americans but that was because he was winning and in good teams. That’s when Americans loved the European sports car and were more into road racing. No, what we need is a team that does well and guess what? We have one now and people are talking.

I’m not trying to claim I am a Delphic Oracle here as it seems pretty obvious to me that the solution to Americas F1 disinterest is an American presence in the sports infrastructure not just a driver. No one went ballistic over Scott Speed’s presence in F1. They are getting amped over Haas F1 though and I think it’s terrific.

So who else is excited about it and think Haas F1 did it the right way even though they could be challenged by Haas? Red Bull Racing, that’s who.

“To be honest, I don’t think it is a bad thing,” team boss Christian Horner said. “It demonstrates that you can be competitive without having to employ 600 people and spend 200 million Euros.

“When you look at the problem of some of the teams, while there will be all the arguments that it is not in the DNA of F1, it far better to have healthy racing, and giving drivers like Grosjean the chance, than being consigned to the back of the grid.”

I think he speaks very frankly and conveys what many Americans feel but how does the rest of the world feel about it? Haas F1 jumps in and passes Force India, Sauber, Manor, Renault and McLaren? IF you’re not American, do you feel the same as Horner? Are you excited about Haas F1’s success so far and do you have any issue with the way they entered the sport? Do you feel they are dangerously close to running afoul as a customer car?

Hat Tip: Motorsport