Wednesday, January 18, 2017
This Haas to be our Year: F1's Little Chasis that Could
It started in 2012 with the first race at the Circuit of the Americas out in Austin, Texas. It (almost) continued with a second race planned on the horizon of New York City in New Jersey. Now, in 2016 America has hopped the pond to oficially join the fray that is the F1 calendar. As a pie-eating, freedom-loving, and occasionally blog-writing American myself, I've come to ask myself how might it all end?
Besides the obviously pessimistic nature of the question, there seems to be some merit to asking it. In 2010, in what was meant to be a breakthrough year to define the future of F1, we added 3(!) new teams to the grid (and one rebranded team). One and a half election cycles later, we're down to just one of those teams, with seemingly permanent fixtures such as Sauber teetering in dangerous financial territory.
Of course, it's too soon to speculate. A lot can happen in 10 years, heck, a lot can happen tomorrow, but the reality is, nothing last forever, (Except Ferrari, Ferrari's never going away). Over the past 67 years since F1 began in 1950, there have been 171 different constructors on the grid. Take away the current 11, and each team is expected to last a whopping: 4/10 of a season... This number is naturally thrown off by outliers such as Sherman F1 who only raced twice (1951&1952 Indy 500s), but it shows just how brutal it can be to get from green flag to checkered flag 19 times a year.
In 2016 its unlikely we'll see them bow out before 2020, but the real test of longevity will come after the impending rule changes. They currently sit 8th in the championship which might be tenable for teams like McLaren with its established fanbase and historical success, or Toro Rosso with direct funding from another team on the grid, but for the little American that could, 8th just plain isn't good enough. It'd really be a shame for Haas to leave F1 as abruptly as they arrived, and after all they are a NASCAR team first and foremost.
But what's inspiring about the Haas story, regardless of nationality, is they have what I like to call the 'Sauber charm'. While you won't see their PR people actively interacting with readers on sites like G+, they are the small team who loves to be right up there with the big teams. In time, they could contest for podiums and consistent results, disrupting F1's Big Three every now and then. Don't believe me? Consider this, Haas' 29 points is the same as Red Bull had at this point in its inaugural season in 2005. It's also better than Toyota's first season, better than all 3 new teams in 2010 combined, and even beats out Mclaren's first two years in the sport combined. Overall, if you ask me, Haas is here to stay.