Formula 1’s newest entrant Gene Haas has invited fellow American grandee team owners Roger Penske and Rick Hendrick to join him at Grands Prix this year to see for themselves how his team fares.
Haas, whose NASCAR star driver Kevin Harvick claimed his first victory of the season at Phoenix on Sunday, told Motorsport.com that he’d extended invitations to US-based team chiefs – including Penske, who famously claimed an F1 win in 1976 with John Watson in Austria.
Haas said of Penske: “He’s always wished me well in my Formula 1 venture because he’s done it, a long, long time ago.
“We’ve invited him to F1 races, we’ve invited Rick Hendrick – and just about everybody who wants to go to one.
“These guys, being the racers they are, I think they’d be very interested in it. It’s a sport that has a whole different twist to [American racing].
“I’d love to get Penske and Hendrick out to a Formula 1 race. I think that would be great.”
Penske “anxious” to see how Haas goes
Speaking at the Grand Prix of St Petersburg – the opening round of the IndyCar Series that his team won with ex-F1 star Juan Pablo Montoya – Penske confirmed Haas’s offer to attend a Grand Prix this year.
“I talked to Gene, he’s invited to me to come,” said Penske. “I said ‘look, I don’t know if I can even get a pit pass there’ and he said ‘I’ll get you one’.
“I’m anxious to see how they do. I don’t know how, with the economics, and you hear the kind of investment – $300million to go to F1, I guess it’s the ticket you have to have.
“I guess we’re the last American team to win a Formula 1 race,” added Penske. “It’s a shame we didn’t stay in longer but it was impossible to be in F1, Can-Am, Trans-Am – we just couldn’t do it.
“I was flying back and forth all the time. Business drove us to the US.”
Gene Haas interview by Lee Spencer