In the modern world of Formula One being media savvy will go a long way to getting good press. This will be a challenge for the Haas F1 head of media, given the ‘shoot from the hip’ style of the team’s owner.
It seems as though the world of F1 has been awaiting the debut of the Haas F1 team forever, due to the initial announcements confirming their entry back in 2014.
In October that year, Gene Haas told CNN, “We’d be very proud to be a Ferrari B team because that would certainly teach us how to run in Formula One and quite frankly we will take all the help they can give us. You can’t get any better than Ferrari”.
For political reasons, this position has been retracted over the past six months, possibly since Monisha Kaltenborn commented on the ‘new style’ of relationship Haas has with Ferrari. “I don’t think that is a good move for Formula One because it is going down the road of customer cars,” commented the Sauber team principal last October.
Gene Haas may well be perceived as something of a loose cannon by the new guard in Maranello given his eye for media attention and inexperience in the sport of F1. Last November Haas commented to Sky, “We think our chassis in some ways will be better than a Ferrari chassis because we’re using some more…I won’t say state of the art, but we’re taking a different approach than Ferrari is and we think it’s probably a better design. The Ferrari is more conventional, they’re going to stay with what they’ve been doing for a number of years.”
Whatever the reality behind these claims matters little, yet Haas apparent keenness to grab the headlines may lead senior staff at Ferrari to take care over the information shared with Haas.
Haas F1’s team principal was asked before Christmas whether the change of dates from April 4th to March 20th for the 2016 season opener in Australia would create difficulties for Haas F1. Steiner told Autosport “it hasn’t made things easier”.
Yet last week Gene Haas claimed his team’s preparations are way ahead of schedule: “We had too much time, actually. We probably had maybe three months more than what we really needed.
“But that provided us with the time to look at all the things we needed to order in, things like the technical trailers – it takes almost a year to build them all”.
Today Haas F1 announced they are the first team to successfully pass the required crash tests for their 2016 F1 entrant. The team tweeted,
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) January 8, 2016
Haas F1 will be the focus of keen attention in February at the first Barcelona test, if only for the reason they are the first new team to enter Formula One in 5 years. The other added benefit for fans of the sport is that should the on track race action be less than enthralling, Gene should keep us entertained with his off the cuff remarks for months on end.