Former Formula 1 driver Stefan Johansson has praised Haas F1 Team for ‘doing its homework’ ahead of its entry to the sport in 2016.
Haas is set to become the first American team to race in F1 in 30 years when it lines up on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix in April.
However, a great deal of scepticism does surround the arrival of a new team in F1 following the difficulties faced by the most recent trio of entries in 2010.
HRT raced until 2012 before collapsing, whilst Caterham lasted until the end of the 2014 season. Manor (formerly Marussia) is the only remaining ‘new’ team on the grid.
Haas is looking to buck the trend thanks to a technical partnership with Ferrari, and Johansson believes that this is a very smart move.
In an interview on his website, the Swedish racing veteran wrote about the idea of customer cars in F1, and why he thinks they should be re-introduced. Customer cars are banned in the sport, but technical partnerships are permitted.
“Well, I don’t understand the attitude of some the smaller teams,” Johansson said. “They say customer cars will ruin Formula 1 and that they have 300 people employed and what will happen to them?
“At the same time they’re scrambling for every penny because the cars are so expensive to make now and they can’t afford to pay their people or their suppliers in many cases.
“If I was Manor and I was offered a Ferrari I’d jump at it! Who wouldn’t? Their budget would be less than it is now. The car would already be developed and sorted and you could run the team with probably 60 people. It just makes business sense.”
Johansson praised Haas for engaging in a technical partnership with Ferrari, pushing the boundaries of working with a bigger team ahead of its entry to the sport next year.
“They’re pushing it as close to that as the rules will allow currently,” Johansson said.
“They’ve done their homework, they’ve listened to the right people and it’s the way to do it.”