Haas F1 future uncertain (10th Update)
|Gene Haas not pulling plug until he can unload his financial albatross|
UPDATE (GMM) Haas needs to up its game or team owner Gene Haas will pull out of Formula 1.
That is the word from the small American team's Danish race driver, Kevin Magnussen.
It follows hot on the heels of team boss Gunther Steiner announcing that, to cut costs amid the corona crisis, the new 2020 car will not be developed for now.
"Gene won't bother to be in Formula 1 if he is last or second to last," Magnussen warned, according to the Danish newspaper BT.
"I don't have to ask him that because I know it. But I don't think we'll be ninth again. If we deliver, Gene will continue," he said.
Small teams like Haas are tipped to benefit once Formula 1 moves into its new budget cap era, with a $145 million limit set for 2021.
"It's still more than Haas uses, but it will force many of the other teams to cut back," Magnussen said.
He said Haas has the power to keep him at the team next year thanks to a contractual option.
"I hope they redeem it," Magnussen said. "It's great to be at Haas where I can develop in an environment I know."
06/19/20 (GMM) "Nothing is certain" about the future of the small American team Haas in Formula 1.
That is the admission of team boss Gunther Steiner, who admits the outfit has been hit hard by the corona crisis and financial fall-out.
Even driver Kevin Magnussen knows Haas is in trouble.
"It's a major crisis," he told Ekstra Bladet newspaper. "It's not going to be easy, that's for sure, but I don't think we're the only ones in this situation."
Indeed, Williams is for sale and McLaren is looking for a 30 percent buyer, while Haas has halted all car development for 2020.
"We are not planning any upgrades until we know the budget for the year and how many races there will be," boss Steiner told Ekstra Bladet newspaper.
"We have to be very careful about what we do. I can't spend money that I don't know if I have."
However, he dismissed renewed rumors that Haas, like Williams and McLaren, is for sale.
"This is the third time this kind of rumor has started," said Steiner. "Someone is trying to stir things up.
"I would like to state clearly that Gene still owns the team 100 percent. If that changes, you will know. But if anyone wants to buy a team, Williams is officially for sale."
He said owner Gene Haas will make a decision about the team's future once Liberty Media presents the teams with a new Concorde Agreement.
"We haven't seen the new Concorde deal yet, but it's coming soon," said Steiner. "When we see it, we will decide on the future.
"Right now, it's his (Gene Haas') plan to stay," he insisted. "But it's only Gene who decides and nothing is certain until he does. But I believe that we will stay in Formula 1."
|Guenther Steiner played Gene Haas like a fiddle - created an American team without any Americans|
04/22/20 (GMM) Gunther Steiner is "confident" that Haas team owner Gene Haas will remain committed to Formula 1 throughout the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
Before the pandemic struck, bringing the sport to a sudden halt and endangering the mere survival of smaller teams, Haas was openly questioning the value of racing around in the lower part of the grid.
"Forget everything that was said, because circumstances have changed," team boss Steiner told Ekstra Bladet.
"I think Gene wants to keep going, but we need to make sure we can get through this season without wasting money.
"I feel confident that we will continue, and I speak with Gene on an almost daily basis through this crisis. I keep him updated on everything. In times of crisis, I need him more than when everything runs smoothly," added Steiner.
"He appreciates it and sees that we are working hard to continue. Everything said before is straight into the trash - right now we are struggling to have races again this year.
"Forget how we perform in them - we must have races so that the sponsors get some benefit from their investment," he said. "Teams are like any other business when they have no income."
2021, though, is a different matter, especially as the teams are yet to sign up for the next Concorde Agreement, which would run through 2025.
"The deadline is the signing of the Concorde Agreement," Steiner confirmed.
"And as you know, there is a lot of discussion about the budget cap. Before we agree, no team signs. So to think about the medium term we need to fix the short term, but I think we have the will to keep going," he added.
Red Bull's Christian Horner thinks Liberty Media would bail out teams if they collapse financially during the pandemic.
Steiner said: "The FIA and FOM are making great efforts so that the sport has a good future with ten teams. They say we have ten good teams now and the goal should be to keep everyone.
"This is very serious for us and very serious for Formula 1 in general, but I think we are on the right track.
"We have to start again as soon as it is safe to do so. All the governments will also try to restart, because if nobody is working, you have no finances anywhere.
"It's pretty simple. We are not a charity, we are a business and people have to be paid. But we can't get started until it's safe," Steiner said.
|Grosjean is realistic|
03/23/20 (GMM) Romain Grosjean admits there is a "possibility" Haas F1 will be closed down after 2020.
Team owner Gene Haas and boss Gunther Steiner have been hinting that deliberations are currently taking place over the future of the American team.
"It's a possibility that must be taken seriously," team driver Romain Grosjean told Canal Plus.
"The message has been clear. There is nothing worse than having reassurances about the continuation of a team and then suddenly discovering that it withdraws," the Frenchman added.
"Mechanics and everyone would be wondering what will happen. So if Gene decides to end his commitment, I hope someone will take over the team because it's a good group that knows what it's doing with a model that works," Grosjean added.
Grosjean is currently locked down with his family in Switzerland, joking that he is "more like a teacher than an athlete in these days".
As for the future of the 2020 season, he said: "For the moment we have to wait.
"We can see that all of the events are starting to be postponed and I can imagine we will have 18 races in six months. That's a bit extreme, but I think for now we have to care for each other and take things seriously."
03/13/20 (GMM) Gene Haas has admitted that 2020 could be his team's last season in Formula 1.
This year is the American team's fifth season on the grid, but owner Gene Haas indicated prior to the Australian GP cancellation that he is undecided about whether to sign the new Concorde Agreement.
"I'll wait and see how things develop from the start of the season," Haas is quoted by DPA news agency.
"If we had another bad year, it wouldn't be so beneficial to stay."
He indicated that he was always scheduled to take stock after an initial five years.
"We'll have to evaluate it then," said the American. "Doing this again for five years would be a big commitment."
Haas said the team's performance slump in 2019 was a "real educational process".
"I have confidence that we have learned from it," he added.
Haas said the current income distribution model in Formula 1 makes it very difficult for the smaller teams.
"70 percent of the money goes to the top three teams, and 30 percent to the other seven. That is not a good economic model," he said.
03/04/20 (GMM) Kevin Magnussen says he can imagine Haas team owner Gene Haas pulling out of Formula 1.
Having entered the sport in 2016 to promote his company Haas Automation, Gene Haas made headlines recently by suggesting the team may not be on the 2021 grid.
Magnussen, who drives for the small American team, told BT newspaper that his boss's warning makes sense.
"Gene is definitely tired of being second to last like last year," he said.
"I don't know how it affects his plans for the future, but there's no doubt he won't bother being in Formula 1 if he has to be last or ninth," Magnussen added.
"I don't even have to ask him that, because I know it."
However, the Danish driver said he's not worried about Haas pulling out of F1 and potentially ending his career.
"It's not something I've prepared for, because I don't think we'll be ninth again," Magnussen said. "2019 was a one-off.
"I believe that if we deliver like we should, Gene would like to continue."
Magnussen said the new rules and budget cap for 2021 should help with those ambitions.
"It doesn't mean we will have the same opportunities as the big teams, but I think Haas is a team that can benefit from the new rules," said the 27-year-old.
01/11/20 Gunther Steiner admits that the decision whether to continue is out of his hands and that it is team owner, Gene Haas who will decide if it is worth remaining in F1 or not.
"It's difficult to know what to say to convince him," says Steiner, according to Autosport. "He needs to convince himself. That's how I see it.
"He understands that best," he continued. "I don't think I can do a lot to convince him, he needs to convince himself that this is what he wants to do, that this is what he wants to use his marketing money to invest in.
"He's got a good enough understanding that if I tell him we can win in 2021, he might say 'he doesn't know what he's doing'. I would have to agree with him. It's not going to happen.
"But, as I said, there is still so many open issues here that at the moment I don't know if he should make a decision yet."
11/16/19 (GMM) Team boss Gunther Steiner says he is waiting to hear if Haas owner Gene Haas will commit to Formula 1 beyond 2020.
The American team had a poor 2019 season - its fourth on the grid - and boss Steiner has already admitted that Gene Haas is contemplating the future.
"First of all, no one is sure that they will be here in 2021, because no contracts have been signed," Steiner said in Brazil, referring to the expiring Concorde Agreement.
"It does not depend on me what we will do in 2021, but anyway we cannot stop development. We must continue as though we will continue to be in F1."
As for Gene Haas' deliberations, he admitted: "There has been no progress for a couple of weeks, but I hope that there will be news next week.
"He must understand what he wants to do, so we wait patiently for that. It's a serious decision for him and I understand that he needs time to weigh everything up properly."
11/11/19 (GMM) Team owner Gene Haas has "doubts" about the American team's future in Formula 1.
That is the admission of team boss Gunther Steiner, who says he had to discuss the team's more-than-difficult 2019 season with owner Gene Haas in Austin.
"The biggest problem he has is with our performance," Steiner told Racer magazine.
"Who is impressed with the state of F1 if you don't make money out of it? It's a big investment."
At present, with the controversial 2021 rules having been handed down, the ten teams are having to think about signing a new Concorde Agreement, binding them to the sport beyond 2020.
When asked about Gene Haas' deliberations, Steiner said: "He's just like every good businessman. He has to rethink what to do, but he is not negative about it.
"For sure he has doubts like everybody else and it's something new, but it's normal business."
10/02/19 (GMM) Formula 1 team Haas has no immediate plans to pull out of the sport.
The American outfit has had a tumultuous 2019 season, with its car struggling to cope with the Pirelli tires and controversial title sponsor Rich Energy pulling out.
But F1 business journalist Christian Sylt has found in Haas' financial statements that Haas will receive "financial support ... for the company to continue in operation for ... at least 12 months from the date of ... these financial statements".
According to Forbes, the statements were dated 17 May of this year.
Owned by Gene Haas, the team entered Formula 1 in 2016.
|Steiner leading the Haas team to the back of the grid|
09/27/19 (GMM) Gunther Steiner has again played down suggestions Haas could be sold to investors from Saudi Arabia.
After splitting recently as Haas' title sponsor, Rich Energy boss William Storey said on Twitter: "We wish Haas the best of luck in negotiations selling the team to Saudi investors".
Team boss Steiner responded at Sochi: "I really do not know what to say except I also wish the investors good luck, because I don't know them.
"Haas is not for sale. This is one of the usual tweets from them (Rich Energy) and I'd rather not get into it. It's not our style," he added.
However, there are rumors swirling around the American team.
One of them is that Robert Kubica's sponsor PKN Orlen could switch to Haas for 2020. The Polish driver could then become a simulator and occasional Friday driver.
"Of course we are interested in working with Robert, but I do not know what his plans are," Steiner responded.
"I have told him to let me know if he is interested, but the decision depends more on him than on me."
Kubica is also linked with a Ferrari test role for 2020.
"Last year I had interesting negotiations with a top team," he admitted in Russia.
"It was a proposal designed for the long term, but it basically meant I had to forget about driving and do some other tasks.
"But I felt that I had the chance to race and that I should use it and I do not regret that decision," Kubica added.
"This year everything is a little different and in the end I will have to choose from what is on the table. Time will tell where I end up."
09/25/19 Gunther Steiner denies this, but where there is smoke, there is fire.
Speaking to Autosport, a bemused Steiner said: “I don’t know how to respond. I wish the investors also good luck and thank you. I don’t know them.
“No, you cannot buy it. It is one of their [Rich Energy's] tweets and I don't answer to tweets or anything. It's not us. I don't want to go there."