In 2014, Gene Haas announced that he would create an American team to run in the Formula One World Championship, with its first Grand Prix to be run at the start of the 2016 season. The team hired Romain Grosjean as a driver and made a deal with Ferrari for engines and technical help. On its debut, Grosjean finished sixth earning a healthy eight points for the team.
The 2017 season has also been a success, with the team currently seventh in the constructor's championship. That's damn good for a privateer team in just its second season. But Gene Haas doesn't think so. In , Haas is clearly frustrated by the performance gap from the midfield to Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull, aka the top three teams. They're frequently a second or more off the pace in qualifying and can't get near them in the race.
"Quite frankly we don’t understand we can be that far off with what we consider to be state-of-the-art equipment," Haas told Motorsport.
The thing is, Haas probably expects to win. When his NASCAR team partnered with Tony Stewart, it was an instant success, with Stewart winning multiple races in the first season and the NASCAR championship in his third with Haas. F1 isn't like that at all, it takes time. And F1 changes radically on its own in just a few years.
Look at McLaren. The team was at the front for ages. Now, it's lucky to finish a race. Before it won the driver's championship in 2000, Ferrari hadn't won one since 1979. Red Bull was dominant from 2009 until 2013, but the regulations changed and suddenly it went backwards. Mercedes wasn't a true contender until the regulations changed to hybrids in 2014. Honda's collaboration with BAR in the early 2000s and as a factory team earned them just one win before selling the team to Ross Brawn (which promptly won the championship in 2009). Toyota never even won a race with a budget that was rumored to be the biggest F1 had ever seen.
The fact that Haas has consistently fought for points in just its first two seasons is something to celebrate. And it's not like he bought a team and it did worse after he started. His team did it all from scratch. In time, more success–and speed–will come.