Formula 1

Haas F1 takes next step ahead of 2016 debut

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Haas F1 has taken the next step in its preparation to join the Formula 1 grid in 2016 in a report quoted by

The American outfit, run by NASCAR team owner Gene Haas, purchased the Banbury factory of the former Marussia team in a separate deal from the auction that took place on Tuesday but was reportedly interested in other items that were for sale as administrators looked to clear the defunct team's debts.

A key milestone

By doing so it confirms that while preparations continue at Haas' US base in North Carolina, the F1 team will be located, with seven of the other 10 teams on the grid, in the UK.

There had been questions as to whether the new team would base its entire operation out of the USA or whether it would join the rest of the teams in more travel friendly Europe, but with Marussia now seemingly out of business, albeit with still an official entry for 2015, the Banbury factory was an ideal swoop for Haas team.

Haas F1 entry comes at tricky time

The pending arrival of Haas F1 in 2016 has been a rare source of positivity in the ever gloomy outlook for smaller teams in F1. As arguments continue over how to deal with raising costs and those not part of the powerful Strategy Group struggling to get their voices heard some are questioning whether it is a good time for Haas F1 to join the grid.

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Indeed Gene Haas himself has said that in the first few years the main objective is to merely survive on the grid before looking to make its way up the pecking order, but the key differences between Haas' bid to enter F1 and those of Marussia, Caterham and the already defunct HRT is the US-backed team has experience from NASCAR and there are no promises that could be broken.

Back when the three teams entered F1 in 2010 there were plans for a $40 million budget cap being led by then FIA President Max Mosley, now, while there are hopes some sort of cost controlling or redistribution of income by Bernie Ecclestone's FOM, there is a greater understanding of how much it would take for any outfit to compete.

F1 to benefit from American team

Another reason to be more positive about Haas F1's arrival is the simple fact it is American. While USF1 failed to get off the ground in 2010 there is genuine hope that Haas' entry is better planned, better backed and could provide an always welcome injection of interest in F1 by the American market.

Add that to the fact TV audience figures have bucked the trend in recent years and are raising while the Grand Prix at Austin continues with stellar attendance numbers.

A partnership with Ferrari also seems to give the Haas project a key ally with the Haas name featuring on the Prancing Horse before the Italian team become official engine suppliers in 2016.

The Banbury factory purchase could be considered a key moment ahead of Haas' F1 debut and watching the continued preparation for what will be a much anticipated and much scrutinised entrance to the sport in just over 12 months time will be one of the big stories in 2015.

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