Haas: more work required to attract sponsors

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Gene Haas deemed himself very happy with his eponymous team's maiden F1 season, but admits his team still needs to prove its value in the eyes of potential sponsors.

Haas enjoyed a remarkable debut in early 2016, scoring points in three of its first four races before a reality check set in over the summer, hitting the US outfit's performance.

Haas raced with its own name flanked on its VF-16 as Haas Automation was the main contributor to its budget, and the team's owner believes that will remain the case until its results prove it is an attractive proposition for sponsors.

"We've had more interest and we're talking to a number of companies but we haven't put anything in hard writing," Haas told ESPN about the team's commercial prospects for 2017.

"I think we will have a couple of associate sponsors but I think we still have to prove we can race at this level."

Haas insisted on the fact that Formula 1 itself, much like many other motorsport categories, was in dire need of a boost in viewership and exposure.

"Racing in general, there's some viewership issues, there's only a number of viewers you can provide to potential sponsors.

"So in general I think all racing venues have had issues in terms of sponsors and most of the teams you see here don't have any major sponsors yet except from the top three or four teams."

Looking at the future, the American business man is optimistic however and encouraged by the response in the United States to his F1 endeavour, especially from the NASCAR community of which Haas is a distinguished member.

"There's always been a lot of interest from the NASCAR side about F1, I think there's a lot of curiosity from people who would like to come to the races and find out what it's all about because it's interesting.

"I've seen a lot of interest from people, individuals, who have encouraged us in what we're doing. It's obviously on a very small level but we've got a lot of media attention, a lot of business contacts, I think there's been a fairly positive response to us in Formula 1."

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