Haas F1 Team Is Starting 2021 With A Clean Slate

Illustration for article titled Haas F1 Team Is Starting 2021 With A Clean Slate
Photo: Haas F1 Team

The only American-based Formula One team is committed to continuing its efforts in the series for at least another five years. It has been competing in the sport since it was formed in 2016, and have very little to show for that billion dollar plus investment. No podiums, and only 42 points finishes from 188 starts. Every race the team has had Romain Grosjean in one of its cars, and for the last four seasons the other car has been filled with Kevin Magnussen. At the end of this season, both drivers will be released and the team will start fresh with a pair of young talented drivers.

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For years my complaint about Haas has been that the team never seems interested in trying anything new, despite its poor cumulative results. That seems to be changing for the better in 2021 as the team is scouting for some young blood to feed into the F1 machine. I truly hope that this team finds its stride, and drafting new talent going into a 2021 season that absolutely does not matter ahead of the 2022 regulation change is a step in the right direction. I applaud the team for making this drastic move.

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A few months ago, I said that if Haas wanted to improve it needed to build a better chassis, hire some better drivers, and probably ditch the boat-anchor-of-an-engine that Ferrari supplies them with. It has done one of those things, and presumably is working on a better 2022 chassis. I’m guessing the Ferrari engines aren’t going anywhere, and their driver choices are part of the reason why.

Haas, more than likely, wants access to Ferrari Young Driver Academy racers, which means an even longer commitment to engines from the Scuderia. The team can hope that with Honda’s dropping out Ferrari will be given provisions by the sanctioning body to improve its lump soon. And with potential access to pick any one of Callum Illot, Mick Schumacher, or Robert Schwartzman is probably incentive enough to stay. And with rumors saying Williams is going to ditch George Russell in favor of recently vacated Sergio Perez, Haas probably needs an open seat to try to court the young Russell. That said, 2020 super substitute Nico Hulkenberg is also without a 2021 seat and could easily fill a Haas slot.

Illot/Russell Haas. Yeah, that sounds good to me.

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This sport is so ridiculous and weird, and while I see a potential collapse of F1 on the horizon, I hope it doesn’t go away. And as an American, I’d even really like to see Haas continue in the sport for decades to come. Here’s hoping Gene Haas can find some good drivers, build a decent chassis, throw together a few sponsors, and get Ferrari’s engine department to pull its collective head out of its collective ass. Here’s hoping the 2021 budget caps will help Haas catch up tot the front runners.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

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DISCUSSION

First of all... YES! So glad to hear both Grosjean and K-Mag are gone! That said, I’m not so sure about the two young drivers thing. One? Yes. But both? Haas is still a development team, and I’m not just talking about the 2022 changes. Personally I’d be a lot happier to see someone like Hulkenberg along side one of those new drivers for at least the next 3 season. They can reevaluate at the end of 2023. And I’d honestly like to see them ditch Ferrari in favor of Renault. Ferrari is too much of a liability at this point between their sad excuse for a car and the fact they tend to be a too heavy handed. One thing is for sure though, if they did take on Mick Schumacher it would get Haas lots of extra free press and airtime, which would be good for Gene if he can score some sponsors.