Haas: Mercedes power advantage has 'killed what F1 is all about'

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Haas owner Gene Haas claims Mercedes continued performance advantage has "killed what Formula 1 is all about".

Last year, the Brackley-based team won both championships for a record seventh straight year, continuing their undefeated run since the start of the hybrid era in 2014.

And in voicing frustration at how Haas struggled last year as a result of Ferrari's engine problems, the American claimed Mercedes' continued power edge was impacting the appeal of F1.

“In 2020 when Ferrari had a reduction in their horsepower, it was pretty obvious that all of the Ferrari-engined cars had horsepower deficits compared to Mercedes, Honda and Renault,” he told Racer.

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“Our boat is tied to the Ferrari ship, so when they’re going slow we’re going even slower – I don’t think there’s much you can do about that.

“We have no control over the parts we obtain from Ferrari but we have faith that Ferrari can fix the problem.

"Not only does Ferrari have this problem, but so do Honda and Renault, everyone’s at a deficit to the Mercedes engine," Haas added

“They built an extremely high performance, high fuel efficiency, durable engine that no other team’s been able to come close to and to me, it’s really killed what Formula 1’s all about.

"More power to Mercedes for being able to dominate so much of the thing, but who wants to go to a race when you know who’s going to win every friggin’ race that’s out there? That just gets boring.”

Haas has hardly been doing themselves any favours, however, as they struggled to develop cars beyond their base design.

Indeed, this issue, as well as the financial impact of Covid-19, triggered the decision not to spend a penny on trying to improve last year's VF-20.

“I’ve always talked to the drivers, and I think in 2018 and 2019 we were spending between $20-40m per year for these updates, and every time I talked to the drivers it was like ‘well, that didn’t do anything!" Haas said. "So why are we spending all this money on updates?" 

“One of the things we eliminated pretty quickly was doing all these updates because I was pretty convinced we weren’t going to do any races [in 2020]. I thought at best we would do four or five races, so bringing all these updates for a very short season wouldn’t work.

“But ultimately we got a lot of races in. We didn’t really bring any updates per se – and I’m not really sure who did bring a lot of updates – but from a practical standpoint, they didn’t seem like they really improved the car much.”