F1’s newest team – Haas – has had a killer outing since their debut, but despite the gains, the performance gap between themselves and the top three is enough to lead team owner Gene Haas to bouts of depression.
You give it your all, and it’s still not enough. Sometimes, such is the way that life goes. Yet for teams participating in Formula 1 against the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull, the deficit in power has become a gulf that doesn’t seem to be crossable. Sitting seventh in the constructor’s championship is nothing to scoff at, but that’s small consolation to the like of Haas team owner, Gene Haas.
Despite putting both drivers in the points on numerous occasions, the team has not managed to improve their seconds off the fastest three teams in this year’s development race. Haas, understandably upset, had a bit to get off his chest recently:
“I think we have two good drivers right now, they’ve both scored points, the car’s very good. But the real cloud that hangs over us is the fact we’re one to two seconds [a lap] off the fastest cars.
“And quite frankly we don’t understand we can be that far off with what we consider to be state-of-the-art equipment.
“Other than the top three teams, everybody’s in that boat. That to me is probably the biggest problem that I see right now, that the top three teams are light years ahead of everybody else.
“They are also the teams that develop their own engines, transmissions, and chassis, so there’s an inherent advantage in doing that.
How do we overcome that? Quite frankly there’s no answer to that, which is really depressing.” Gene Haas
Formula One has long enjoyed the draw of having the world-famous likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull go head-to-head-to-head in a bid for mechanical dominance – at the cost of the rest of the pack.
Haas is under no illusion – if you’re anywhere in the midfield, your chances of winning a race are nearly non-existent save for a freak result that sees the top of the field crashing out or being faced with crippling technical issues.
“That’s a dilemma that F1 is facing. You have the teams at the front and then this big mid-pack… we’re all very close together, matter of fact the mid-pack is all within a second.
“So, from a competitive standpoint we’re all very equal, it’s just you have this group way out in front that we’re all struggling with.
The reality of it is, that outside those three teams nobody has a chance to win. If you’re running sixth through 20th, you really don’t have a chance of winning.”
For quite some time, the very idea of being able to field a competitive F1 car was considered enough of a reason for a constructor to take the plunge into the sport. And yet there is only so much time that a team can reasonably participate in the sport with and expect finishes outside of the podium to be good for their image.
All the hubbub is certainly nothing new, but it is significant. With Liberty Media already on the side of making the sport much more spectator-friendly, it doesn’t take a genius to see that they plan on revamping the nature of the mid-field fight. Maybe it’ll come along with the new Concorde Agreement, or perhaps some other form of policy change that they’ll implement, but the old guard ways of a three-way battle amidst a horde of teams may go the way of the dinosaur.