American driver would be great but not vital - Haas

Wednesday 11th June 2014, 23:05 by TF1T Staff 

Haas Automation

Gene Haas says it would be "phenomenal" to have an American driver line-up on the grid driving an American built Formula 1 car in 2016.

The American businessman and co-owner of NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing, is hopeful that one of his two seats will go to a US racer, though he admits it's more important to be competitive than patriotic.

"Seat number one is going to obviously be taken by an existing F1 driver that has experience with the current engine package and chassis," he told Autosport.

"And then position two is open. It would be great if we could put [an American] in there - it would just be the home run: an American team with an American driver in a European series. That would be phenomenal.

"But we're very flexible on that. Realistically, the number one thing is to make sure we don't embarrass the sport, we arrive prepared and ready to race."

Haas has delayed his plans to join the grid, initially setting a deadline for the 2015 season but upon realising the scale of the challenge, has pushed that date back to the following year.

He says that's partly been done to avoid the mistakes Caterham and Marussia made when they debuted in 2010.

"We've delayed it by a year because we think we can better spend the time putting together a team of people than just throwing people at it," he explained.

"That's what happens when you get time constraints. Once you hire the wrong people it can sometimes take longer to get rid of them than to hire a competent person if you take the time to hire that person, so that's where we're at now."

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