Haas pleased with new F1 regulations but remain focused on survival

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While happy by the new financial and cost-saving measures agreed by Formula 1, Haas admit their focus remains on survival.

Last week, a number of changes were ratified by the FIA, this included a reduced budget cap of $145m, limits on the aerodynamic development of the current cars and a new handicap system for aero testing aimed at helping the slower teams catch up.

Haas chief Guenther Steiner notes the changes as a step in the right direction, but explained why it was too soon to think about how that could help his team.

“It’s good we have an agreement on the budget cap, the restriction on aero development and hopefully a set of regulations that will allow more, if not most, of the teams to be in a position to fight at the front,” he wrote in his F-Word column for The Race.

“In my opinion perhaps the budget cap could have gone further – the level is still well above what we are spending now – but it’s good that the gap is narrowing, which should mean that in time the gap between the teams narrows too..

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“But while this is good news for the future, I hope we are all still around to take advantage of the opportunities the rules might give us," Steiner added.

“At the moment the priority is making sure we are able to get to the end of 2020, and for sure we are not alone in this, not only in Formula 1 but in businesses across the world.

“It is much too early to say exactly what the impact of this pandemic will be. That’s not to be too negative about the budget cap, it’s just the reality of the situation.”

The Haas chief also admits that, while the budget cap gets most of the attention, it actually doesn't change anything at the American squad.

“Formula 1 has done a good job in reacting to the situation and coming up with a plan that ought to be good for everyone in the long run,” he said.

“Gene [Haas] is happy, but the budget cap that has been agreed doesn’t really impact him, as we are already spending under that limit.

“What he needs to see is the new commercial agreement, which we should have next year, giving a more equitable return for the teams.

“This is the chance to change the situation we have now where if we don’t go racing for six months half the teams are in danger of going bust. Because, for sure, if anything like this happens again in the next five years and things don’t change, next time they will."

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For F1 in general, however, Steiner does believe it makes the sport more attractive to new teams going forward.

“For teams coming in, when the budget cap is discussed, there are always some people out there who think they can make money with it. It's still a very expensive sport," he explained.

“You still need to invest an awful lot of money to get somewhere. Manufacturers, I hope they see it and I think a good thing. If the board of directors see a cap, they know how much they can spend as a maximum.

“You start with one number and after five years this number says tripled or quadrupled what you said before. So now there is a stake in the ground saying 'This is the maximum you can spend by regulation'. 

“It's pretty clear now but before it was 'How long is a piece of string? How much do you want to invest?' So I think it's a good thing and hopefully, we can get corporates or car manufacturers which would be best, to invest in Formula 1.”