On Friday, April 11, the FIA confirmed that it has accepted the application of an American team to enter the world championship series in Formula 1 racing. According to Formula 1, NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas of Stewart-Haas Racing, has successfully applied for and received a license to enter a F1 team in the international racing series and hopes to do so as early as 2015.
The official statement reads, according to the FIA, "In close consultation with the CRH (commercial rights holder), the FIA has accepted the candidature of Haas Formula LLC and are in the process of conducting further investigations for Forza Rossa." Forza Rossa is a Ferrari dealership in Romania that also has hopes of entering a team.
According to Formula 1, Gene Haas acknowledged the American acceptance in a separate statement: "Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA. It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One." Haas Automation is a tool machining company.
Haas continued, "Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition."
The NASCAR co-owner's successful bid followed a lengthy and detailed application process that began early in the year. A potential team has to show substantial financial backing, among other qualifications. In addition to the NASCAR team and the Western world's largest CNC machine tooling business, according to Formula 1, Haas's business interests also include Windshear, a rolling wind-tunnel in North Carolina, the first in North America and the third of its scale in existence.
According to Reuters, the last time an American successfully won a bid to start a Formula 1 team was in 2010 when Ken Anderson, former technical director of Haas CNC Racing (the former name of Stewart-Haas Racing), was given a license but had to withdraw when the team was not ready to go racing. Two other teams that did join the highly competitive series that year, Caterham and Marussia, are still on the grid in 2014; however, there is no guarantee how many of the 11 current teams will return in 2015.
Stewart-Haas Racing, co-owned by Haas with driver Tony Stewart, won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in 2011. A Haas Formula 1 racing team would be another way that American racing fans would have the opportunity to compare the popular NASCAR stock car series with Formula 1, which is only just returning to the States. The United States Formula 1 Grand Prix took place at a new purpose-built track in Austin, Texas starting in 2012 after several years lying dormant.
The two series run what some see as a face-off in close proximity this year. The U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas takes place on November 2, the same day that the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500 races at Texas Motor Speedway in nearby Forth Worth. Other observers say that the two series attract different racing fans altogether and do not compete with one another for ticket sales or TV viewership.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1. She is working on a book about racers and racing.