March 10, 2015 / 5:05 PM / 4 years ago

Haas F1 make key signings, secure UK base

LONDON (Reuters) - The Haas Formula One team have bought Marussia’s former headquarters in central England and hired key technical personnel ahead of a planned race debut next year.

The first American-owned team in 30 years said in a statement their plans were on schedule following the purchase of what will be their European base in Banbury, within easy distance of Silverstone.

Dave O’Neill and Rob Taylor have joined from Marussia as team manager and chief designer respectively while Ben Agathangelou has moved across from Ferrari as chief aerodynamicist.

All three are Formula One veterans, with Agathangelou starting out at McLaren in 1994 while Taylor will be in his 28th year in the sport after stints at teams including Ferrari, Red Bull and Benetton.

Haas said Agathangelou and Taylor had already designed a 60 percent scale model of their 2016 car, with the team using Ferrari’s wind tunnel.

“While there is still a lot of work to do, a lot has already been accomplished for Haas F1 Team to be competitive when we join the F1 grid in 2016,” said team principal Guenther Steiner.

“Our technical partnership with Ferrari has allowed us to develop our car and our people at an exceptional pace. The way we’re going about our F1 team is new and different, but it’s working.

“We’re committed to our plan, we’re committed to F1 and, most importantly, we’re on schedule. This time next year, our cars will have already been tested and we’ll be readying them for Melbourne.”

Owned by NASCAR’s Stewart-Haas team co-owner Gene Haas, the team will be powered by Ferrari engines with their main headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

Haas Automation will be the team’s primary sponsor.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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