|Gene Haas has zero hope|
Gene Haas will consider the future of his Formula 1 team if steps are not made to make the sport more competitive and fix the “almost unsolvable" problem of how to cut the gap between teams.
Since Lotus won the 2013 Australian Grand Prix with Kimi Raikkonen, just three teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – have won every Grand Prix since, starting with round two of that season in Malaysia. The close-knit midfield teams have rarely had a chance to fight at the front of the pack, and podiums for other teams beyond those three have been sparse.
Following its takeover of F1 in January, Liberty Media has been tasked with finding ways to make the sport more competitive and give the midfielders more of a fighting chance instead of making up the numbers – something Haas is keen to see.
“They’ve very patiently listened to us and they’ve talked to all the teams, and they’re formulating a strategy that they’re going to release later this year," Haas told NBCSN.
“We’re all anticipating how they’re going to solve that problem, because it sounds like it’s a problem that’s almost unsolvable.
“In last practice [on Friday at Monza], the first three cars were all within a second, and the next 10 cars were all within a second.
“There’s a big gap. There’s definitely a big racing gap between the front-runners and the team at the back."
F1’s youngest team, Haas F1 Team has impressed since making its debut at the start of 2016, but has not finished a race any higher than fifth, the result coming in just its second grand prix.
A number of options to reduce costs and narrow the gap between teams throughout the field have been suggested, including spec parts or a budget cap.
While Haas doubts anything can be done to reduce the gap, he stressed the need for some kind of unpredictability in F1.
“If anything, my point of view is that it’s a gap we can’t reduce. With what our current resources are and what we know, it seems an impossible gap to reduce," Haas said.
“I think some of it is that the top three teams are maybe quasi-manufacturers, and since they run the whole car and make the whole car, they understand it a lot better.
“So we’re always going to be at somewhat of a disadvantage to the manufacturers who understand the car better than we do.
“But I think there needs to be some kind of a randomness in the sport where even a team in the back has some possibility of winning once in a while.
“Not every race, but if you can never win in this sport, it’s really not going to be much of a sport."
When asked if he was considering his team’s future in F1, Haas said: “Well we’re certainly committed to Formula 1.
“But if we never have a chance to win, I’d really have to question why we’re here.
“I think every team should have at least some possibility of winning a race once in a while, through a fuel strategy or some alternative.
“But the gap’s so big now that I just don’t see how we can possibly close it."
Haas currently sits seventh in F1’s constructors’ championship on 35 points after 12 rounds, having already exceeded its score from 2016 thanks to contributions from drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
By comparison, Mercedes sits on top of the teams’ table on 392 points ahead of Ferrari on 348 and Red Bull on 199. Luke Smith/NBCSN