Gene Haas' F1 team has had one of the most stunning debuts ever for a brand-new team. But Romain Grosjean's unexpected sixth and fifth place finishes in the first two 2016 Grands Prix have led some to accuse Haas F1 of being little more than a Ferrari surrogate—the team's VF16 cars use many Ferrari components in a Dallara chassis.
Gene Haas is having none of F1's drama. In an , he responded to these accusations, and didn't mince his words.
"This place is a soap opera," said Haas. "I think a lot of the teams at the back really don't understand what competition is. They're getting maybe a little too fat and happy."
Haas F1 has already scored more points in two races than any first-year team in the last 25 years. The success has surprised everyone, even Haas' team boss Gunther Steiner, but Mr. Haas doesn't think his team's success is a matter of parts.
"There's an assumption that because we are using a lot of Ferrari parts that it makes it easier," he said. "But I would challenge any team to take a complete Ferrari car with all the parts and just try to run it. They're very complex cars."
Then, Haas goes in for the kill shot.
"We never read that memo that said you had to come in to Formula One and run in the back for five years, so we kind of ignore that," he said. "We're not going away, they better get used to it and if people don't like it that's their problem, not my problem."
Haas' NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas racing, is famous for sweating the details, and his F1 team follows the same approach. The team spent an extra year doing development work before joining the grid this year, and it seems to have paid off. While the rest of F1 is busy imploding, Haas F1 is working hard and getting results. Other teams might be wise to follow its example.