HAAS has given the world a first look at a 2019 Formula 1 car, with the American outfit unveiling the fresh colour scheme: the first black-and-gold colour design since Lotus in 2015.
Haas chose a combination of red, grey and black in their first three seasons in F1, but for the new campaign, the team’s livery will incorporate the black and gold colours of their new energy drinks partner and title sponsor Rich Energy.
“It’s important that we keep progressing as a team,” Haas Team principal Guenther Steiner said.
“Our partnership with Rich Energy is another positive example of moving forward as an organisation.”
William Storey, CEO of Rich Energy, added a swipe at Red Bull:
“We’re looking forward to taking on Red Bull — both on and off the track,” he said.
“We intend on being in Formula 1 long, long term and we believe that Haas are a dream partner for us.
“They’re a David taking on Goliath within Formula 1 and we’re doing the same in the drinks business.”
Storey conceded Red Bull was a “brilliant business” but still hit the Austrian company with some harsh truths about more than just its F1 operations.
“I think we have already beaten them — we have a better-looking car.
“We are expanding very quickly, we are taking a huge amount of business from them.
“Some of the biggest drinks distributors in Europe are delisting Red Bull now, and I think our results will start to speak for themselves. F1 is a wonderful platform for us.
“We feel that there is a little bit of apathy and hubris in the marketplace and we think that we have a real opportunity to beat them — off the track.”
Haas finished fifth in last year’s standings, two places behind Red Bull.
Winning the midfield fight is therefore likely to be a more realistic immediate target for Haas, but team boss Guenther Steiner insisted there is nothing wrong with setting ambitious goals.
“You have to try hard. If you have no targets you never achieve anything,” he said.
“It’s an ambition. In racing they are very good, but you never know.
“Last year we had the fourth-fastest car and finished fifth, but the next one up was Red Bull.
“We can try. If you don’t try you don’t achieve it.”
While Steiner acknowledged the team remained inconsistent in 2018, its car’s pace was such that it was regularly the fourth-fastest team behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
While still relatively little-known, Rich Energy has been linked with involvement at F1 teams for the past two seasons but potential tie-ups with Force India and Williams have not materialised.
So why approach Haas?
“They’ve got the best business model in the sport and they are uniquely positioned to exploit regulation changes.
“They are run in a very unpretentious fashion, they are proper racers and Gene Haas is a wonderful businessman who is approaching motor racing in the right way.”