Who is Gene Haas? as many F1 fans are asking that question right now since the arrival of Haas F1 Team to Formula 1.
Gene Haas is the owner of Haas F1 Team, the first American F1 team since Penske racing in 1977.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1952, the second of four siblings. Since a young age started to like everything about cars and mechanics as his father worked for Hughes Aircraft as a designer of electrical cabinets.
Gene delivered newspapers while in elementary school, and got his first job in a machine shop at the age of 14, sweeping floors and cleaning up.
After only six months at the machine shop, Gene was setting up lathes and conventional milling machines. He continued working at machine shops throughout high school and college, mastering the machining techniques that would serve him later in his life.
Haas graduated from high school in Mission Hills, California, in 1970. He then attended California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where he studied engineering and business, graduating in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Finance. After working as an industrial programmer for the next few years, Gene founded Proturn Engineering, a small contract machine shop in Sun Valley, California, in 1978.
Gene Haas at Proturn Engineering worked with machining parts for the electronics and aerospace industries. It was during this time that Haas developed a fully programmable 5C collet indexer to boost productivity in his own shop. The Haas 5C was the industry’s first device to automatically re-position parts accurately for machining by pressing a button, rather than having to reposition the material by hand. a cumbersome and time-consuming process.
Haas Automation, Inc
In 1983, Haas founded Haas Automation, Inc. During the next 4 years, Haas expanded his product line to include a wide selection of fully programmable rotary tables, indexers and machine tool accessories. Haas Automation quickly became the industry leader in 4th- and 5th-axis parts positioning.
In 1987, Haas took the company in a different direction, and designed his first vertical machining center (VMC) – the VF-1.
The prototype was introduced to the manufacturing world in 1988 at the International Machine Tool Show (IMTS) in Chicago. for the unheard of price of $49,900. Experts were skeptical that an American company could build and sell a machining center for less than $50,000, but they not only could, but did. The new product was a huge success, and today, virtually every manufacturer of VMCs worldwide produces a similar machine in the $50,000 price range. (according to them, of course)
In 1992, Haas Automation moved to a larger facility in Chatsworth, California. In 1997, the company moved again, to its current location in Oxnard, California. The 1-million-square-foot Oxnard facility is one of the largest, most modern machine tool manufacturing operations in the United States. Haas Automation currently produces four major product lines: vertical machining centers (VMCs), horizontal machining centers (HMCs), CNC lathes and rotary tables. Haas products are sold through a worldwide network of more than 170 Haas Factory Outlets in more than 80 countries that provide the industry’s best support and service. Major customers include Caterpillar, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, John Deere and Rockwell Automation.
Although Mr. Haas is the owner and president of Haas Automation, his primary duty has always been heading up the engineering department, 95% of all new design ideas came from himself making sketches out his ideas, and then turns them over to the engineers for refinement. He then reviews the engineers’ work and makes further modifications, as required. One of Haas Automation’s strengths is its ability to take a new machine from initial concept, through design, and into production in just six to twelve months.
In June of 2006 Haas was arrested by IRS agents for investigation of filing false tax returns, witness intimidation, and conspiracy.
Haas made full restitution to the IRS and has served a fraction of a 24 month sentence in prison. He was released in November of 2008.
Haas and Racing
First to all let’s clear something. Gene Haas have no relation with CART/IndyCar team Newman-Haas Racing either a relation with team owner Carl Haas.
In 2002 Gene made his first team in NASCAR; Haas CNC Racing. After purchasing a facility from Hendrick Motorsports, Haas CNC Racing began work on it’s first entry in the Sprint Cup series as a single-car team. The first entry for the new team was for the Kansas 400 with driver Jack Sprague who finished 35th after a crash. The team raced only three times in 2002. By 2003 the team was running full-time with several driver changes over the season (Jack Sprague, Jason Leffler and Ward Burton)
For 2006 the team was relocated to Kannapolis, North Carolina and was fielding a second full-time team. At the end of 2008, the team was still struggling with a total 6+ year average finish of just under 27th place also counting the several DNQ and DNF.
In 2008 a big news shocked NASCAR as two time NASCAR Champion (at that time) Tony Stewart announced that he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to join forces with Haas.
Stewart-Haas Racing, started it’s operations in January 2009 with a two car team, Stewart and 2008 Daytona 500 winner, Ryan Newman.
Stewart won at Pocono, Daytona, Watkins Glen, and Kansas plus the All-Star race finishing 6th on points standing while Newman finished 9th.
The next season wasn’t so great.with Stewart finishing 9th (2 wins) and Newman 15th (1 win).
Despite an awful regular season Stewart was able to get into the chase in one of the Wild Card spots given to best two car outside the top 10.
For the next ten races Stewart was a class of his own as Stewart won five of them. (Chicago, New Hampshire, Martinsville, Texas and Miami) winning on a tiebreaker with Carl Edwards after both ended with the same amounts of points (five wins vs one of Edwards).
The following year the team expanded to a three Car, until 2014:
-#14 Tony Stewart
-#39 Ryan Newman
-#10 Danica Patrick (Limited schedule and full time since 2013)
For this year Stewart-Haas added a fourth Car for the 2004 NASCAR Champion, Kurt Busch. The main fact of this fourth Car is that Haas is paying for that Car, in other words his company finance Kurt’s team not very often seen in NASCAR since the past decades as most of the NASCAR teams have a variation of sponsors and only a few have a full time sponsor as Busch does.
I strongly believe in Gene Haas project. He’s a serious guy to work with lots of Money (as today’s F1 needs) with the right tools, literally the right tools to make an F1 team throughout the year we will know the Drivers and Engine supplier and to be honest with you it looks more serious than Windsor’s USF1 team in 2009.