Gene Haas says that the team has been approached by other Formula 1 teams about their automation equipment – something that wouldn’t have happened had they not entered the sport.
Haas is, outside of Formula 1, an automation equipment manufacturer, producing CNC machines like lathes, mills and rotaries. These machines have such a good name that they’re already being used in NASCAR, with Haas selling machines to teams they’re in direct competition with.
“We do it in NASCAR a lot, and a lot of our competing teams use Haas Automation equipment.”
Haas currently races in three NASCAR series – the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series. Since its debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2002, Haas has won two drivers’ championships, along with taking thirty-nine wins and thirty-seven pole positions in NASCAR’s top flight.
Despite the Haas team’s obvious ability in NASCAR, and his company’s machines having proven track record in top-tier motorsport, Gene Haas believes that they wouldn’t have had enquiries about their equipment from Formula 1 teams had they not joined the championship.
“We’ve had Formula 1 teams ask about how to procure equipment from us, and if we weren’t there, that’s probably something that wouldn’t have happened.
“If we can compete at these high levels, that gets us the notoriety we want for Haas Automation.”
Far from simply allowing the team to market their products to a new audience, Haas says F1 gives them the opportunity to treat existing valued customers to an experience they otherwise would struggle to have.
“On the marketing side of it, we bring customers to the races and that works really well because – especially in Formula 1 – it’s pretty much impossible to even get into the pits unless you know a team, so we’re bringing a lot of our special customers only to these racetracks.
“It makes them feel special, and that translates into their perception of us and how they relate to people in their industry.
“It just kind of builds on itself that this is a top-notch team in association with a top-notch machine tool builder, and that’s the whole thing – the association of quality, performance and winning machine tools.
“There’s a lot of interest, and it’s good to keep people engaged – not just on the machine tool side, but on the racing side as well, and merging those things together.
“We’re a NASCAR team and here we are doing Formula 1.”
Despite the obvious differences between NASCAR and Formula 1, Haas says there are similarities – and that he’s even had people in F1 wanting to learn more about how NASCAR operates.
“There’s a lot of similar technologies and I’ve even had a lot of people from the Formula 1 side wanting to know how NASCAR guys do this, so there’s a lot of interest.
“You have two sports that are at the top of their fields – stock car versus open-wheel racing – but they seem to have a lot of interest in how each of these entities have evolved over the years and what can be gleaned from the two series.“