Haas Granted License To Put U.S. Team On Grid In 2015

For the first time in four years, an American based F1 team will be racing in the world championship in 2015, thanks to Gene Haas (above) out of North Carolina. [Photo by Getty Images]

After four years of waiting, an opportunity for another American team to be in the Formula One World Championship might be happening thanks to Gene Haas.

On Friday, the FOM (Formula One Management, led by Bernie Ecclestone) and the FIA (led by Jean Todt) gave the final approval to issue a license for a 12th entry in the F1 grid by approving the creation of Haas F1, an American formula one squad base out of North Carolina. The approval now tests the NASCAR owner to form a team that will mean that he must have a car ready to go before February of next year in order to participate in the championship.

“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA,” Haas said. “It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula 1.

“Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition.”

Haas submitted his entry back in February and just yesterday was approved. But Haas has a lot of criticism that he must face with many U.S. teams have struggled or lasted for no more than a few years.

The legendary Dan Gurney had his own team back in the mid 60’s, and nearly put one together in 2003. In the 1970’s , formula one became quite busy as there were two American teams, Penske and UOP Shadow, which heralded such stars as John Watson and the late Welshman Tom Pryce along with another diseased driver, the flamboyant American Peter Revson. The grand prix scene in the U.S. had also races in Long Beach, California, and at Watkins Glen in upstate New York.

However, although the world championship was won by Mario Andretti in 1978, both Long Beach and Watkins Glen were lost, and the final U.S. race for many years took place at a boring street circuit in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition, Penske went back to more of a successful time in Indy cars, while a small team called Beatrice –Haas (no relation) was the last team to be in the F1 grid out of America. By 2000, the U.S. finally had a race in Indianapolis, Indiana, but low turnout plus a controversial race in 2005 did not do justice and the race was withdrawn in 2007.

However, the biggest disappointment came in 2010, when the USF1 team, led by Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor tried their luck and was granted a license to race that year. But the team never could find the money to raise for the team, and even signing a 26 year old Argentinian Jose Maria Lopez to drive with sponsorship money proved that the squad was starved for cash and the team would never put out a car or even go to the first race.

It sent a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, and now that a successful race in Texas has happened, a possibility that Long Beach could return in 2016 might give an impression that the 70’s form of American racing could be back again. All that needs to happen is the formation of an American team that could really get the icing back on the cake.

All Haas has to do is provide the candles on it.

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