AUSTIN, Texas — Gene Haas says the performance advantage of Formula One’s top three teams makes it feel like the rest are competing in a different racing class.
The Haas team is fighting Renault for fourth in the championship this year, the position which has become customarily known as ‘best of the rest’ in recent seasons. Only Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari have won a race in the V6 turbo era, which started in 2014.
Haas believes beating Renault in his team’s third season of existence would be like winning a championship.
“I feel we are not really racing F1, we are racing F1.5,” Haas said. “So if we were to finish fourth that would be a win in our series.”
Haas is surprised at just how big the gap to the front can be and says he has come to realise that there is no easy way to cut that gap. “When I watch some of the races, and see how fast the top three teams just blow by on the race track, you are just somewhat aghast and like ‘wow, how did we miss that?’
“I don’t know how those cars are so much faster. But if I talked to Ayao [Komatsu, engineer], he says you have got a couple of tenths on your tyres, you have got a couple of tenths on your aero and your chassis is off a couple of tenths. That is your second or two.
“I know that we put a huge effort into trying to address all those parameters, but I don’t see how we are ever going to make up 1.5-2 seconds off these guys. They are just so much faster.”