Legendary team boss Carl Haas passes away

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Carl Haas celebrates the last Newman/Haas Racing victory with Justin Wilson - Credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar

Carl Haas, a legendary name in the world of motorsport, has passed away at the age of 86 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The American was one part of the Newman/Haas Racing name alongside American actor Paul Newman, and was the last American team owner in Formula 1 prior to Gene Haas’ current team when he run a Lola project back in 1985 and 1986.

The Newman/Haas name was a staple of the American racing season for a long period of time, with the team taking a championship victory in CART in just their second season in the sport in 1984 with Mario Andretti, while his son Michael Andretti was also triumphant with them in 1991.

“Carl had a heart of gold and a deep commitment to our sport,” said Mario Andretti. “He earned the respect and admiration of his competitors and all those who drove for him through the years for being tenacious yet fair.

“In fielding teams in various series from SCCA to Formula One, Carl always sought the best equipment, the best drivers and the best team personnel. His legacy especially in Indy cars will be his phenomenal record of victories and championships, thanks in part to the great supporting cast I just mentioned.

“When I recall the joys of my whole career, I have to include my tenure at Newman/Haas because of the people. Spending 12 seasons with Carl and (wife) Berni and Paul Newman was amazing, triumphant, relentless work and heartwarming. All of it.

“The sport has lost a colorful character, but Carl Haas is unforgettable. He will always be an icon in motorsports and myself and so many others have lost a dear friend.”

Carl Haas (left) with Michael and Mario Andretti, and actor Paul Newman - Credit: IndyCar

Carl Haas (left) with Michael and Mario Andretti, and actor Paul Newman – Credit: IndyCar

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Carl Haas,” said Michael Andretti.  “Carl was an icon to our sport and the automotive industry, and I owe a great deal of my career’s success to my time with Carl and the Newman/Haas family.

“Paul and Carl built what was undoubtedly one of the greatest teams in history; I am truly honoured to have been a part of the legacy they built.”

Nigel Mansell secured the team’s third title in 1993, while Cristiana da Matta was also a title winner with the team in 2002, but the most successful driver in the teams history was Sebastien Bourdais, who took four consecutive Champ Car titles between 2004 and 2007.

“It is with great sadness that I heard the news of Carl’s passing,” said Bourdais. “Back in 2002, Carl gave me the opportunity of a lifetime when he hired me to drive the second Newman/Haas Racing in CART for the 2003 season. He did so with no sponsor to run the car, and I will be forever grateful for the faith he placed in me.

“From 2003 to the end of 2007, the whole team became a real family to me, thanks to him, Berni and Paul, who had successfully assembled the best group of guys I ever worked with.

“Today, I can only feel privileged to have been able to contribute with poles, wins and championships to Carl’s racing legacy. My deepest condolences to Berni and their family. Carl, you will be dearly missed.”

Following the merger of Champ Car and IndyCar back in 2008, Newman/Haas Racing joined the series with Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal, with both drivers taking the chequered flag first during the season, the last two victories for the outfit that ultimately departed the scene at the end of 2011.

“Carl Haas was one of the legends of our sport, a person whose passion for racing led his teams and businesses to amazing success over the years,” said Rahal. “I personally can’t thank Carl enough for giving me my first opportunity and introducing me to the sport I love.

“In his time, Carl was the boss of many of racing’s greatest drivers, and for me to get to work under him for those four years was some of the greatest times of my life. There weren’t many like Carl, and he will surely be missed.”

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