Formula One may soon have a United States-based team, and that team could be owned by someone with a NASCAR championship trophy on their mantle.
Gene Haas, the co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, confirmed Thursday he filed an "expression of interest" with the FIA to field a Formula One team beginning in 2015. He is one of three applicants that will be considered, though none are guaranteed admittance.
"We have responded to the FIA's ‘call for expression of interest' regarding a Formula One entry on behalf of Haas Racing Development," Haas said in a statement. "We respect the FIA's evaluation process and will share more details in the coming weeks."
Until recently Haas was regarded as the silent partner of SHR. Tony Stewart, who won the team's first Sprint Cup championship in 2011, was often the spokesman for the burgeoning NASCAR organization, which also fields cars for Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.
It was the signing of Busch last August that vaulted Haas into the spotlight. While Stewart was sidelined with a broken leg sustained in a sprint car accident, Haas initiated negotiations with Busch. Despite his partner's initial objections, Haas went ahead with the expansion plans and added a fourth car, which he is sponsoring through his company, Haas Automation.
Haas also owns the Windshear wind tunnel located in the Charlotte, N.C. area, and has an estimated net worth of $740 million, according to a 2011 story in The Pacific Coast Business Times. The proposed F1 team would be located in Charlotte, and involves former Red Bull and Jaguar technical director Gunther Steiner, according to Autosport.
Operating an F1 team is fraught with challenges, primarily the fact that just two Grand Prixs are held in North America with the majority of events taking place in Europe and Asia.
In 2010, a group formed a F1 team called USGP, but disbanded a month before the season began. The last U.S. F1 team to actually turn a lap in competition was Team Haas, which competed in the mid-80s and was owned by IndyCar icon Carl Haas -- no relation to Gene Haas.