New American Formula One racing team Haas F1 is already shaking things up after rival teams have expressed anger over its partnership with F1 legend Ferrari.
The partnership between the two is a thorny issue for many rival teams as F1 strictly prohibits the entry of “customer cars” into racing. Each team must create their own and cannot just buy a completed car from someone else.
For Haas and Ferrari, so similar are their cars and driving, the only visible difference between the two cars will be their body chassis.
Ralf Bach, on his website the F1 insider, said the two parties were collaborating efforts to skate as close as possible to the current rules forbidding “customer cars.” However, that the two are the same unit, could not be any more visible, even for a newcomer to F1.
American outfit Haas already has deep ties to Ferrari as it sponsors the team through machine tool company Haas automation.
Haas will be receiving basically everything that can be legally bought from the rival turned partner. The exchange comes after the two crafted a 2016 technical partnership and engine supply deal.
Haas team boss Gunther Steiner said through F1’s official website, “Of the teams that came into the sport in the last decade only one is left, so we thought it through and came up with some quite different ideas. You cannot do more of the same if the recent past has shown that more of the same doesn’t work.”
With the whole body borrowed from Ferrari, Haas embarked on a search for its 2016 driver and who better to do the job than someone as knowledgeable and experienced as a Ferrari driver.
Despite pressure to put an American at the wheel recent comments by owner Haas pointed to Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez as the first man behind the wheel.
Asked about whether Haas was a Ferrari-B car, Steiner said, “It is difficult to say percentage-wise, but it is going in that direction. But don’t get me wrong, we still build our own chassis and bodywork.”
What the partnership shows is that owner Gene Haas, already a NASCAR legend, is deadly serious about being competitive in the pinnacle of motorsport. His strategy shows a deep understanding of both the technical and business side of motor racing and means that when the team launches next year American fans are going to have something to legitimately cheer for.