Gene Haas: Machine Tool Methodology in Motorsports
In its inaugural season competing in the Formula One World Championship, Haas F1 Team continues to score points. Is this beginner’s luck or a result of applying the same pragmatic, common sense approach to motor racing that team owner Gene Haas instilled at Haas Automation since founding the CNC machine tool manufacturer in 1983?
All eyes were on Haas F1 Team when it entered the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American-led Formula One team in 30 years. After all, history has shown that newcomers tend to struggle in the world’s most sophisticated form of motorsports. However, Haas F1 Team has bucked that trend by collecting enough points that midway through its debut season, its neck-and-neck with established Formula One teams that have been around for decades. With still half the season remaining, Haas F1 Team has already scored 28 points, the most of any first-year team in this millennium.
Inside the Formula One paddock, Haas F1 Team has exceeded expectations. But for Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation and owner of Haas F1 Team, obtaining results is always the expectation.
Since Haas Automation’s inception in 1983, the company has risen to become one of the largest machine tool builders in the world by total unit volume. The Oxnard, California-based factory employs approximately 1,300 people and exports 60 percent of its annual production to more than 60 countries. There are close to 185,000 Haas CNC machine tools installed around the world, supported by a network of 170 Haas Factory Outlets (HFOs) and nearly 3,000 Haas Technical Education Centers (HTECs). Seven new HTECs have opened in Europe alone this year.
Augmenting this infrastructure is the non-profit Gene Haas Foundation, which funds community causes as an official commitment to corporate and social responsibility. Since its creation in 1999, the Gene Haas Foundation has awarded in excess of $22 million to nearly 1,000 organizations, many of which are schools and colleges where, because of the foundation’s efforts, students receive financial assistance with tuition, books, work clothing, small tools and manufacturing study trips.
The steep ascent of Haas Automation has been mirrored by Haas’ endeavors at the racetrack. In 2002, he formed a NASCAR team that is known today as Stewart-Haas Racing. It is now a powerhouse, four-car team in NASCAR’s premiere series with two championships and more than 30 victories. The methodologies used to make Stewart-Haas Racing successful are being employed at Haas F1 Team, and the industry has noticed.
Paddock magazine listed Haas as one of the top-100 most influential people in Formula One. Appearing on the list for the first time at number 30, Paddock said: “Gene Haas – new to F1 in 2016, but an experienced hand in motorsport having been involved in NASCAR for many years. Gene made a smart move this year with his Ferrari partnership allowing his team to punch above their weight in their inaugural year.” Haas was also recently named on Time Inc.’s “The Drive” top-10 list of the most influential car persons.
Haas F1 Team’s headquarters is located on the same Kannapolis, North Carolina, campus as Stewart-Haas Racing, but Haas F1 Team also has a European base in Banbury, England. Just like at Stewart-Haas Racing and at Haas F1 Team’s Kannapolis home, the Banbury location has Haas CNC machine tools prominently featured. In fact, this is a common sight inside the facilities of many other racing teams and its supply chain of subcontractors around the world, all of which rely on Haas CNC machines to make components accurately and cost-effectively.
The dedication to quality and the endless search for efficiency is what made Haas Automation the largest machine tool builder in North America. Those same values form the foundation of Haas F1 Team – an organization that serves as a catalyst in making Haas Automation a premium, global brand.