Haas flies flag for America in a gray way

Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:44am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The first U.S.-owned Formula One team in 30 years will get lots of attention next week but the sleek new Haas car is, without denigrating its performance, more commercial vehicle than all-American racer.

There is a splash of red on the VF-16 (for Very First) that will make its race debut in Melbourne on March 20 but forget about any white and blue, stars and stripes flag-waving patriotism.

Grey, light and dark, is the standout color and Haas branding dominates.

"The colors on the car are kind of Haas primary colors. That's what we wanted," said Gene Haas, the industrialist whose Haas Automation company is the largest machine tool manufacturer in North America with more than $1 billion in annual sales.

"Our sales thrust here is to sell more machine tools," added the 63-year-old.

"We are doing this more as a challenge to market our products and be involved in the races," said Haas, a familiar face to U.S. motor racing fans as co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup-winning team.

Their drivers are French and Mexican, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez respectively, the team have a European base and the number of actual Americans on staff are in a distinct minority.

Most of the race mechanics have been recruited from British-based F1 teams.   Continued...

Haas Formula One drivers Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico (L) and Romain Grosjean of France smiles as they pose next to new VF-16 F1 car before the first testing session ahead of the upcoming season at the Circuit Catalunya-Barcelona in Montmelo, Spain, February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Perez