That of course would be the Haas F1 Team, set up by machine magnate and stock-car team owner Gene Haas. The team will be headquartered alongside NASCAR's Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, NC, but will need a UK base of operations from which to tackle the European rounds of the world championship and tap into the talent pool there, and that's just what it's done.
The Haas F1 Team will run its European operations out of a 39,350-square-foot facility it recently acquired in Banbury, England. That's where a raft of new appointments will be based, among them is team manager Dave O'Neill, chief designer Rob Taylor and chief aerodynamicist Ben Agathangelou. All three come with lengthy experience at other F1 teams and the motorsport field at large.
Both O'Neill and Taylor previously worked for Manor/Marussia, from which Haas was previously reported to have acquired the Banbury facility. Haas confirmed in correspondence with Autoblog that the Banbury site was indeed formerly Marussia's, but just what the latter will do without its home base, we don't know.
Interestingly, while Haas owns Windshear – one of the largest and most advanced rolling-road wind tunnels in the world, located in Concord, NC – the team has been performing its scale-model tests at Ferrari's wind tunnel in Maranello, which Agathangelou refurbished recently prior to joining Haas.
The team reports that, with its biggest players in place and its European headquarters set up, development is on schedule for its assault on the 2016 Formula One World Championship. At that point it'll be the first American F1 team on the grid in some 30 years.
European Facility Procured, Key Hires Made
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (March 10, 2015) – Haas F1 Team is on schedule to make its debut in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American-led Formula One team in 30 years.
Getting a start-up team to the grid is a massive logistical and technical undertaking, but under the leadership of team principal Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team has many vital pieces already in place despite the 2016 season being a year away.
Augmenting Haas F1 Team's United States home in Kannapolis, North Carolina, is the recent purchase of a facility in Banbury, Oxfordshire, U.K. The 3.655 square-meter (39,350 square-foot) building will serve as Haas F1 Team's European base, allowing for easier and quicker access to the team's overseas suppliers and streamlined logistics for when the team travels to Formula One venues in Europe.
Construction of the team's equipment, from transporters to the pit apparatus to garage setup, is well underway. Upon completion, all will be housed at Haas F1 Team's Banbury location.
Key personnel have also been added, notably Dave O'Neill as team manager, Rob Taylor as chief designer and Ben Agathangelou as chief aerodynamicist.
O'Neill came to Haas F1 Team from Marussia F1 Team, joining what was originally Manor GP in 2009. O'Neill's experience is quite valuable to Haas F1 Team, for his task upon joining Manor was to set up a Formula One team in six months. Recruitment of personnel, the purchase of equipment and infrastructure, oversight of car design and supplier selection were just a few of O'Neill's many duties. O'Neill was the team manager for Jordan Grand Prix from 1998 through 2005 before joining A1GP, a racing series promoted as the "World Cup of Motorsport". As the chief technical coordinator for A1GP, O'Neill set up the series and track testing of cars. During this time, he also served in the role of team manager for A1GP's Team Ireland, winning the A1GP championship in the series' fourth season (2008-2009).
Taylor also joined Haas F1 Team from Marussia, where he held the post of deputy chief designer. Prior to Marussia, Taylor was the senior design team leader at McLaren from April 2006 through December 2010. Before McLaren, Taylor was head of vehicle design for Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Jaguar beginning in 2002. Senior design roles at Arrows (1997-2002) and Scuderia Ferrari (1992-1997) were achieved after stints at Cosworth (1987-1989) and Benetton (1989-1992). Taylor's role with Haas F1 Team marks his 28th year in Formula One, a tenure that has provided a range of experience in all disciplines of Formula One design.
Agathangelou paired with Haas F1 Team from Scuderia Ferrari where he managed the upgrade of the team's wind tunnel and testing systems in Maranello, Italy, in March 2012. Prior to that, Agathangelou was with Dallara, serving as an engineering consultant for a number of projects the Italian racecar manufacturer had dating back to 2009, which included the technical lead for the Campos F1 project, 2012 technical upgrades for GP2 and the World Series Renault, design and development of the DW12 Indycar chassis, and management of the Alfa Romeo 4C "low cost" sports road car project. Agathangelou has a wealth of Formula One experience, for he was the head of aerodynamics for Jaguar and later Red Bull Racing from 2002 through 2007. Agathangelou held the same role with Renault F1/Benetton from September 1999 to March 2002. Agathangelou began his Formula One career in 1994 with McLaren as an aerodynamics analyst, moved to Tyrrell in August 1997 as senior aerodynamicist and then joined Honda Racing Development in April 1998 as chief aerodynamicist to prepare Honda's 2000 Formula One entry.
Agathangelou and Taylor have already designed the 60-percent scale model of the car Haas F1 Team will race in 2016. The duo has logged numerous hours in the wind tunnel it shares with Haas F1 Team technical partner Scuderia Ferrari. By working diligently to develop the scale model now, Haas F1 Team will be ready to go racing in 2016.
"While there is still a lot of work to do, a lot has already been accomplished for Haas F1 Team to be competitive when we join the F1 grid in 2016," said Steiner, a Formula One veteran who was originally recruited by three-time Formula One champion Niki Lauda to join Jaguar in 2001 as the team's managing director. "Our technical partnership with Ferrari has allowed us to develop our car and our people at an exceptional pace. The way we're going about our F1 team is new and different, but it's working. We're committed to our plan, we're committed to F1 and, most importantly, we're on schedule. This time next year, our cars will have already been tested and we'll be readying them for Melbourne."
Melbourne, Australia, serves as the kickoff race for the Formula One season. It's where Haas F1 Team will make its debut following preseason testing. Haas Automation, Inc., the CNC machine tool builder Haas F1 Team chairman Gene Haas founded in 1983, will serve as the team's primary sponsor.
In addition to Haas F1 Team, Haas' motorsports holdings include Stewart-Haas Racing and Windshear.
Stewart-Haas Racing is co-owned by Haas and Tony Stewart. The organization won the Sprint Cup championship in 2014 with driver Kevin Harvick to earn the team's second championship in four years. Driver-owner Stewart won the team's first Sprint Cup title in 2011. Stewart-Haas Racing fields four entries – the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet for Stewart, the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Danica Patrick, the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet for Harvick and the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Kurt Busch. The team operates out of an 18.581 square-meter (200,000 square-foot) facility with approximately 280 employees.
Windshear is a 290 kph (180 mph) rolling-road wind tunnel in Concord, North Carolina, that is the first of its kind in North America. Founded by Haas, it is only the third rolling-road wind tunnel of its scale in existence and the world's first commercially available, full-scale, rolling-road wind tunnel. Windshear is available for hire to all motorsports teams and auto manufacturers. NASCAR, INDYCAR, sports car and NHRA teams utilize Windshear, as does the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), which has conducted tests on production cars at Windshear.
About Haas F1 Team:
Haas F1 Team will debut in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2016, where it will become the first American-led Formula One team since 1986. Founded by industrialist Gene Haas, Haas F1 Team is based in the United States on the same Kannapolis, North Carolina campus as his championship-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Haas is the founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America, and he is chairman of Haas F1 Team.
About Haas Automation:
Haas Automation, Inc., is America's leading builder of CNC machine tools. Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are built in the company's 93.000 square-meter (1 million square-foot) manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets that provides the industry's best sales, service and support while offering unparalleled cost-to-performance value. For more information, please visit us on the Web at www.HaasCNC.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HaasAutomationInc and on Twitter @Haas_Automation.