Posted Sep 21st 2014 4:00PM
Plans are coming together for Gene Haas to launch his US-based Formula One team in 2016. The tooling magnate and NASCAR team owner has renamed his grand prix racing outfit from Haas Formula to Haas F1, he's setting up shop in North Carolina with a satellite location to be announced somewhere in Europe, and now he's penned an engine supply deal with Ferrari.
The deal doesn't come as such a surprise after Haas signed on as a sponsor with the Maranello squad a couple of months ago, but confirms the reinforcement of the partnership between the two teams. "The multi-year agreement," according to Ferrari in the statement below, "is for the supply of the entire power unit starting from 2016," including the engine, hybrid assist and presumably the gearbox as well. But that's not the extent of the deal.
Billed as a "technical collaboration agreement," the deal opens the door for Haas and Ferrari to cooperate even more closely than the latter does with existing powertrain customers Sauber and Marussia. "We believe this new partnership has the potential to evolve beyond the technical role of supplying our power unit and all related technical services," said Scuderia Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci.
Just what that will entail remains to be seen, but it appears that the parties are preparing for Haas to become something of a partner team to Ferrari – similar to what Red Bull has with Toro Rosso, only without the common ownership. FIA regulations prevent Haas from simply buying a chassis from Ferrari, but wouldn't preclude the American team from benefiting from the more experienced Italian squad's considerable know-how. It wouldn't be hard to imagine, then, that Haas could take the place of the North American Racing Team that served as Ferrari's proxy in the 1950s and 60s.