Team Haas and their preparation for 1987

Unraced 1980 - 1989

Early on in 1986, Haas lost its main sponsor Beatrice. Both their CART Indycar and Formula One project was affected by it. However, Haas continued racing in 1986. In June that same year, the team signed Adrian Newey for three years. Only to leave the teams two months later. The same time the rumours appeared of Bernie Ecclestone purchasing the team. Carl Haas had no more interest in his F1 adventure. Still the plans were there to appear on the grid in 1987. Would they still be Haas? Or would t become Force?

First of all Team Haas, officially Team Haas (USA) Ltd, has nothing to do with Team Haas that ’s currently on the grid. Carl Haas and Gene Haas are not related to each other. While they are both from America and were both active in the automotive. Perhaps coincidence does exist.

In 1986, Haas managed to close a deal with Cosworth to race with their New V6 Turbo engine. While the deal was signed, Cosworth was behind on their schedule, which meant that the team was forced to use the old THL1 the three races with the Hart engine.  In San Marino Jones was the lucky one to race with the THL2 powered by Cosworth. In Monaco Haas appeared with two THL2’s on the grid.

While many media states that Carl Haas kept on looking for sponsors after the withdraw of Beatrice I’m not sure if this is true. As said in the introduction Bernie Ecclestone was rumoured a couple of times to purchase the team from Carl Haas. The rumours only became stronger when plans were “leaked” to keep Teddy as team principal for 1987, to lead the team to the new “atmospheric” age in 1988.

Did it came so far? Well not really. The Force base was eventually sold in December, and not October as you can read everywhere on the web, 1986 to Bernie Ecclestone, at that time also owner of the Brabham team. He dismantled the team, and used the factory from Haas for Alfa Romeo. Teddy Mayer together with Carl Haas went back to the states. While Oatley moved to McLaren to be one of the designers for the team. Ross Brawn moved to Arrows. As already said Adrian Newey resigned, only a month or two after his three years contract was signed. He went to March.

What ever happened with the designs for the Haas THL3? Were they really working on their car for 1987? As far as I could uncover the team already started working on their successor mid-season. Besides the sponsor’s issues was there another issue. Around the same time, it was said that Ford could stop with Formula One at the end of the season, as the Turbo engines would be banned per 1988. The other story went that Ford was looking to go with another team. Eventually they would power the Benettons a couple of years.

According to Carl Haas himself, he told Ford after the Hungarian Grand Prix that his team would continue with the preparations for the next season as long Ford supplied them with engines. The same time the team found two new sponsors. After the Detroit Grand Prix there was a meeting with Ford concerning that they were not able to supply the team with the needed engines. This would cost the Haas team a couple of sponsors. 

While Force was sold, The team did still exist and the intention eventually was to return to the Formula One, if not in 1987 than in 1988. In the winter of 1987, there were strong rumours of an collaboration between Carl Haas and Bernie Ecclestone, to have the THL2’s up and running for the start of the season. Both Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay were named as well to drive the cars while Hart would power the cars. Eventually the THL3 would appear then during the season.

Though the THL3 was never build, there is an option that Brabham also purchased the blue prints of the car, or what was already on paper of the car. Using it for their own Brabham design. Then there is also the story that Cecilia Ekström spoke with Carl Haas to purchase a couple THL 2’s. What i earlier could uncover is that it was only speaking terms. No deal was made.