Steiner dismisses rumours of potential Haas sale

Haas F1 principal Guenther Steiner has dismissed rumours that part or all of the team might be put up for sale, insisting that it was a case of someone “trying to make a storm in a teacup.”

“I don’t know where it comes from,” Steiner said on a video conference this week. “It’s now the third time that Gene has sold the team, or partly sold the team.

“This is all speculation, I think somebody is putting some rumours out there,” he said, according to Motorsport.com. “[According to previous rumours] we were sold to Saudi Arabia a year ago – we were already sold and the deal was done. But nobody ever spoke with Saudi Arabia!”

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The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly hit the whole of F1 hard, with Williams having publicly confirmed it is looking for new investors as a result of the financial situation. McLaren is also understood to be investigating selling a stake in its race team to raise funds.

The newest name on the F1 grid, Haas is owned by American businessman Gene Haas, boss of machine tool manufacturer Haas Automation and co-owner of a NASCAR race team with Tony Stewart.

Despite having introduced some innovative cost-saving measures right from the start of its time in the sport, F1 is still proving to be an expensive business for Haas. However Steiner is confident that the team – and its owner – are here to stay.

“Gene Haas is still the 100 per cent owner of Haas,” Steiner insisted. “He never had a partner. He maybe doesn’t want a partner. He maybe doesn’t need a partner.

“When the time is right that he wants to do it, we will communicate it,” he continued. “That is Haas F1, and not everybody else having an opinion on who owns Haas and who is acquiring Haas and who is buying shares in Haas.

“I see this a little bit of trying to make a storm in a teacup for no good reason,” he added. “There are a lot of people that wish to buy an F1 team, and tell people that they’re going to buy one, but they haven’t done it – at least not with Haas.

“If somebody wants to buy a team out there, I think Williams did a very good job in how they managed it. They put it on the market, said we are interested in something, speak with these and these people.

“I think that is how it should be done, and not speculation with no foundation.”

Steiner added that he hoped the new rules and regulations being introduced to F1 in the next few months would help convince Haas to stay.

In particular he said that the introduction and progressive lowering of the budget cap over the next few seasons was “good thing for the sport in general, even if it is not completely equal with everybody.”

He explained that the budget cap would still be more than Haas’ existing team budget, but that it would close the gap to the bigger operations and give then a chance to get on an even footing on the race track.

“It’s a very good step. Now the difference will not be 150 million to the big teams, but maybe 20 million.

“To make it break even, there is a chance to do that for the future,” he acknowledged. “And that is for sure the aim for us. That needs to be my aim, to make it break even for Mr Haas.

“If I make that one happen, for sure he will sign the Concorde Agreement,” Steiner suggested. “We are doing the right things. We live within our means and what we have got. And therefore I think Haas is here to stay.”

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