Haas’s future is “the elephant in the room”, admits Grosjean

2020 Styrian Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean says he doesn’t have any idea yet whether his Haas team will remain in Formula 1 for the 2021 season.

The team slumped to a worst-ever finish of ninth in the constructors championship last year. Team owner Gene Haas is known to be disappointed with its slump in performance following a strong start when it arrived in F1 four years ago.

Asked in today’s FIA press conference about his plans for 2021, Grosjean admitted the team’s future was “the elephant in the room”.

“Is Haas going to be here next year or not? That’s obviously a question,” he said.

“What are the other places available? Obviously the market got shaken up quite quickly this year with the Ferrari announcement and the following things. So we will see.

“What are the opportunities? Personally, I see also what I would like to do and what I feel like doing in the future. So I guess looking a little bit but also not rushing everything and just seeing how things are going.”

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Grosjean says he known “nothing” of the team’s future plans and believes “the decision hasn’t hasn’t been made.”

“So there’s nothing to be said,” he continued. “We just need to go racing and do races as we did in Austria, get the best out of the team, out of the strategy, out of the drivers and show the best we can do.

“Gene knows the answer, I guess, or doesn’t know but will tell the answer at one point. And until that point, I can’t really give you any direction.

“I hope obviously for Formula 1, I hope for everything that Haas will be here on the grid next year. I think out of all the new teams that came to Formula 1, it’s obviously the one that was the most successful, the most solid baseline. So there’s definitely a place for for Haas in Formula 1.

“But again, I’m not the one taking the decision, so time will tell.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Haas’s future is “the elephant in the room”, admits Grosjean”

  1. I must say that Steiner’s answer to that same question (speculation) last month was a lot stronger.
    But I guess that makes Steiner the manager, and Grosjean just the driver.

  2. You have to wonder what Haas are trying to get out of F1. There are certainly elements to their current approach that don’t make much sense…

    – 2 drivers who have a history of average performance and are better known for their weaknesses (Grosjean for crashing/whining, Magnussen for getting his elbows out unnecessarily)
    – No consumer appeal in the brand. Will Haas really sell more CNC machines because they are in F1?
    – The model of sharing permitted parts with Ferrari is a sensible one, but doesn’t seem to have provided any progression since their first season
    – The 2020 Ferrari engine is a stinker due to the “agreement”
    – If it is intended no create some US pride in the sport, having an entirely European driver lineup and team structure doesn’t help.
    – A second US GP still hasn’t happened. The US cares no more about F1 today than it did four years ago.

    Alfa Romeo, Renault, Williams, McLaren etc. all have clear reasons to burn money in F1. Haas don’t.

    1. F1 is a good promotion platform and I believe that it was successful in building awareness about the Haas branding outside of the us (which was Gene’s plan). But I agree it’s far from certain there’s anything to gain by staying further in F1: basic awareness has been build ; now they need to progress towards the front to get further positive exposure. Not happening today… So yeah, big risks that they pull out unless Gene is convinced he can move to the front of the grid or finds partners / investors to sustain the team without needing a positive business case from Haas Automation’s sole perpective.

    2. Pretty sure it’s just an ego driven exercise. He could spend a fraction of the money and get more return on his investment in IndyCar.

      1. Not for global exposure, @don123.
        Believe it or not, F1 advertising is still one of the best global ROI marketing vehicles.

        1. With less and less F1 being on free-to-air TV (and young people watching TV less), I’m not convinced that is still true @coldfly

    3. Really good post David! COTD!

    4. Haas is in f1 for the same reason big car companies are. It gives their brand an aura of high tech and also helps with global exposure like coldfly said. As for haas and american drivers there is really no drivers for haas. If they were higher up the grid they might be able to (afford to) snatch some higher level indy car drivers but as it is no sane person would sacrifice his good indycar career for a mediocre-at-best stint in f1. Definitely no nascar driver will. Getting a ferrari chassis has its risks and if ferrari makes a bad car then haas also gets a bad car. But when they make a good one it pays off.

      So far the gamble hasn’t just paid off for haas which has snowballed into other problems. Ferrari chassis and engine are bad, they haven’t been able to attract american drivers which means no american sponsorship/visibility which means it makes no sense to expand their technical team because of budget reasons. And budget is minimal because it makes no sense to spend any more. Doubling their budget won’t even move them up in the championship even a spot. In the end it is all about whether mr haas thinks ferrari can deliver for 2021. If he sees no change for the better it probably doesn’t make sense to keep pouring more money into a losing deal. It is a gamble and I’m sure haas hates it when his future is completely in ferrari’s hands.

  3. With such approach they better leave now, the will spare more money.

    Otherwise – sticking for 2021 and 2022 is a no-brainer, as maybe the results won’t come, but the budget cap will come and probably different revenue structure.

  4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    16th July 2020, 14:50

    I think we’re finally seeing the full picture of the FIA’s agreement with Ferrari. It seems that it’s affected 3 teams for the entire season, if not multiple seasons, including Haas, Alfa Romeo, and of course, Ferrari.

    That probably explains why Ferrari decided not to renew Vettel’s contract. The car is not likely to be competitive this season and most likely next season so Ferrari will receive significantly less money from prize winnings. There’s no point in keeping a 4 time WDC when the car will languish.

    Essentially, their prize winnings for a few seasons have easily been wiped out. Dropping to Segunda Division is enough punishment for the team and constructor.

    Binotto’s out of the team and just staying there until the find a replacement.

    Tough times for Ferrari powered cars… Ferrari has made a royal mess out of this putting the entire sport into jeopardy and all the FIA could do was put out the fire and do damage limitation.

  5. Does Grosjean really think any other team would be interested in taking him on? Totally baffling that Haas have kept him in their driver line up, can’t imagine anyone else being interested in making the same mistake.

    1. I believe he is 7th or 8th in terms of salary so I guess someone sees value.

      1. @tango someone that needs to launder their money.

        I can’t think of any reason why Grosjean is still in F1. Nor Magnussen. But specially Romain, he admitted he’s racing this year because his son wanted him to, which as nice as it is, it’s a clear sign of a guy that lost his hunger. He’s racing a difficult car knowing that’s not going to make it any better for his future, instead of hanging his F1 helmet and moving to Le Mans or whatever… But no, he’s still spinning, or going off track…

        Haas’ failure to impress in the past year or so has to be partly because of the driver line-up they have. They could’ve done a lot better with better guys, and there are a lot of them around…

    2. Imagine how bad your team must be run if your line-up is Grosjean-Magnussen instead of Hulkenberg-Kobayashi

  6. I hope for everything that Haas will be here on the grid next year.

    Currently Haas are last equal with Williams, and not very far behind A teams and Renault, so a few good races could see them in a different place and that might just make Gene happy enough to keep the team. Even one good result at Hungary could make a world of difference to the team’s moral. I think that is achievable, but will need everyone to be put in a huge effort.

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