THE DOMINANT Mercedes engine has ‘killed’ Formula One’s competitive foundation, Gene Haas has claimed.
The 68-year-old and owner of the Haas team believes that races have become stale during the hybrid era, which has seen Mercedes claim seven consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles.
Lewis Hamilton romped to the world championship in 2020 and is heavy favourite to do so again this year.
Potential challengers Ferrari, who supply much of the Haas car, have floundered of late, starving the car of power and aiding the Mercs’ hegemony.
Haas told Racer: “In 2020 when Ferrari had a reduction in their horsepower, it was pretty obvious that all of the Ferrari engine cars had horsepower deficits compared to Mercedes, Honda and Renault.
“Our boat’s tied to the Ferrari ship, so when they’re going slow we’re going even slower – I don’t think there’s much you can do about that.
“We have no control over the parts that we obtain from Ferrari. We have faith that Ferrari can fix the problem.
“And not only does Ferrari have this problem, but so does Honda and Renault – everyone’s at a deficit to the Mercedes engine.
“They built an extremely high performance, high fuel efficiency, durable engine that no other team’s been able to come close to.
“To me, it’s really killed what Formula One’s all about.
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“More power to Mercedes for being able to dominate so much of the thing, but who wants to go to a race when you know who’s going to win every friggin’ race that’s out there? That just gets boring.”
The coronavirus pandemic has led to F1’s next rulebook shake-up being delayed to 2022, which will be the most likely window for a new challenger to emerge.
Haas is content for his cars to leave Ferrari to fight for the title, noting that his team, the youngest on the grid, is financially stable and enjoying the brand benefits of being in F1.
Confident that he will remain in the sport for ‘at least the next five years’, the American admitted that the coming season will be another tough one for the team that claimed just three points in 2020.
He added: “I’m optimistic about the future.
“I know that this year’s going to be difficult because we basically have the same car as last year, and the power plant from Ferrari is going to be very similar to last year, so we know that’s not going to give us any competitive advantage.
“So I think that we have the mindset of realizing our position is always going to be probably three of four positions behind Ferrari. It kind of tells us where we’re going to be racing.
“And that’s OK, this is Formula One, the pinnacle of motor racing.
“We know we’re not going to be beating any of the Mercedes teams, so we just have to take what we have and learn to make the best of what we’ve got, which isn’t bad.
“This whole sport is a lot more than just the engineering challenges and the engine development and all that stuff, it’s also participating in races and drivers and the whole other aspect of the glory of Formula One racing. Which is fun!”