Exclusive: US team to be given green light to jump on the F1 bandwagon by next year

Nascar tycoon, Gene Haas, could help the sport take root in America

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that a new team run by an American businessman is on track to join Formula One next year.

It will become the sport's 12th team and the first from America since the 1980s. Formula One has not had an American driver since 2007.

The team is run by Gene Haas, the joint owner of the championship-winning Stewart-Haas Racing team, which competes in America's Nascar stock car series. "I think Haas will be accepted," said Ecclestone, the sport's chief executive. "They have got the money but it's a question of whether they are going to spend it."

In addition to his stake in the Nascar team, Haas is also the founder of leading American engineering firm Haas Automation, which has annual revenues of around $1bn (£600m). It gives him the resources to fuel his bid and he is already using it to attract top names, as Günther Steiner, a former technical director of the four-time Formula One champions Red Bull Racing, is understood to be involved.

Ecclestone was initially dismissive of the bid from Haas but has been convinced that the team has the wherewithal, at least initially. "A billion would last a new team owner four years," Ecclestone said. "I've spoken to Haas but I don't know what they are going to do. It's America, so I don't know."

Formula One has had a run of bad luck in the United States and it has coloured Ecclestone's opinion of the country's interest in the sport. A team known as US F1 was due to join in 2010 but failed to raise enough money to get off the grid. Similarly, a street race with New York's historic skyline in the background has been postponed for the past two years as the organisers still lack $100m to bring the 3.2 miles of public roads up to Formula One standards.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates winning last years US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas (Getty) Sebastian Vettel celebrates winning last years US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas (Getty)
Not only is Ecclestone persisting with this race but he is also planning another on the west coast in California. His chances could be boosted by having Haas in Formula One, as it is such a well-known name in Nascar, the most popular motor sport series in the US.

In December Formula One's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), opened a tender for the new team. A decision was due to be made on 28 February but this was delayed until an unknown date.

In a recent interview Haas said: "It's not like any individual makes a decision there. They get together in a group and look at the package and they make their decision, but ultimately I think it has to go to Mr Ecclestone."

The FIA's decision to open the tender surprised Formula One insiders as several of the existing teams are barely managing to keep their wheels turning. Budgets have accelerated in recent years and hit an estimated average of $211m in 2013. Several drivers complained about not being paid last year and at the end of 2012 Spanish minnows HRT closed their doors, leaving the 12th spot vacant.

When US F1 did not take up the 13th slot there was so little interest in filling it that the FIA formally closed the tender in September 2010. However, Ecclestone said: "Every year we or the FIA have approaches for new teams."

In addition to the application from Haas, others are understood to have been filed by former HRT head Colin Kolles and Stefan GP, a Serbian organisation that bid for an entry in 2010.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue