Gene Haas Granted F1 License
The founder of HAAS Automation has been granted a Formula One license by the FIA, and will enter a team in the Formula One world championship in 2015 or 2016.
Gene Haas, founder and owner of Haas Automation Inc. (Oxnard, CA) and co-owner of NASCAR Sprint Cup team Stewart-Haas Racing, has been granted a Formula One license by the FIA, and will enter a team in the Formula One world championship in 2015 or 2016.
Speaking at a recent press conference, Haas explained his motivation for the application, and how he expects the global marketing opportunities to benefit his company, as it aims to double worldwide sales over the next five years.
“There are a lot of F1 fans from China and the Far East to South America and Europe. We want Haas to become a household name. We have a very good market penetration in the U.S., and I think by entering Formula 1, we can achieve the same around the world.
“The ultimate goal would be to double our sales for Haas Automation,” Haas said. “The combination of Haas Automation building machine tools and promoting our brand through NASCAR fits perfectly into a marketing strategy of entering Formula One to enhance our brand name into a premium market. When it comes to our customer base, everybody wants to buy a premium brand, and I’ve always thought Formula One is the premium brand in racing.”
The new Haas F1 Team will be based in Kannapolis, NC, on the campus of Stewart-Haas Racing. Team principal will be F1 veteran Guenther Steiner, who has extensive F1 technical and organizational experience with several teams, including Red Bull, Jaguar, and Mercedes.
Founded in 1983 and based in Oxnard, California, Haas Automation is the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world. The company recently celebrated building and installing its 150,000th CNC machine, at a family owned precision engineering company in Sweden.
In 2008, Haas also founded Windshear Inc., a 180-mph rolling-road wind tunnel in Concord, N.C., that is the first of its kind in North America. It is only the third rolling-road wind tunnel of its scale in existence, and the world’s first commercially available, full-scale, rolling-road wind tunnel.
Speaking from the Haas factory in California, Peter Zierhut, vice president of Special Projects, elaborated on the company’s bid to enter Formula One.
“Much of our sales growth will come from overseas,” he says. “To achieve our goal of $2 billion in annual revenues, we need to develop and grow the international market for Haas products.
“Haas Automation has always set aggressive targets, and we love a challenge. Gene Haas, like many of our customers around the world, is passionate about motor racing, so this move seems like the logical next step.
“We’re very pleased to have this opportunity to join the Formula One community, and although the first few years will be extremely hard work, we expect it will yield tremendous benefits in the long term.”