Gene Haas says the advantage that Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing makes it feel like his Haas F1 Team are racing in a completely different category.
Haas is embroiled in a battle with the Renault Sport Formula One Team for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship in 2018 in just their third season in the sport, but the pace discrepancy between the leading three teams and the rest of the pack is substantial and makes them feel like they are in Formula 1.5 rather than Formula 1.
“I feel we are not really racing F1, we are racing F1.5,” said Haas in the Friday Press Conference ahead of the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. “So if we were to finish fourth that would be a win in our series.
“When I watch some of the races, and see how fast the top three teams just blow by on the race track, you are just somewhat aghast and like ‘wow, how did we miss that?’.
“I don’t know how those cars are so much faster. But if I talked to Ayao [Komatsu, engineer], he says you have got a couple of tenths on your tyres, you have got a couple of tenths on your aero and your chassis is off a couple of tenths. That is your second or two.
“I know that we put a huge effort into trying to address all those parameters, but I don’t see how we are ever going to make up 1.5-2 seconds off these guys. They are just so much faster.”
Haas is not convinced that the possible introduction of a budget cap will completely close the gap between the leading teams and the rest of the pack, and he believes there is too big a gulf to ever be able to bridge that advantage the leading trio have.
“Will budget cap help? Probably. If it reduces the size of their R&D department, I guess for every person we have, they have five people,” added Haas. “Personally I think that those five people would make it more confusing, but it does seem to work.
“And if there is anything that can reduce that gap, the technology they have and what we don’t have, that would probably be very helpful. How you go about doing that without the bigger teams somehow having workarounds I don’t know, but there is something wrong.
“I don’t think we can ever make up that gap.”