Italian premium carmaker Maserati could return to Formula One as early as next year by taking over naming rights for the Haas team. Sources insist that Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is preparing to send the Modena brand back to the Formula One fray. If they do return, it will be the first time in nearly 60 years. The deal will give Haas its first major sponsor after two self-funded years in the sport. with Maserati paying a rumoured €20 million a season to paint its Trident on dark blue engine covers.
Effectively, the deal would pay all of Haas’s Ferrari V6 powertrain costs. Like Alfa Romeo’s sponsorship of perennial back marker, Sauber, it would effectively see Maserati paying Ferrari €20 million a season, via Haas. The Maserati-Haas outfit will be the fourth “Italian” team on the 2018 Formula One grid, though only Toro Rosso and Ferrari will actually be based in the country. Another connection between Maserati and Haas is Dallara who provide the chassis. The team also leases wind-tunnel time from Ferrari.
All this is despite the threat by Ferrari to withdraw from Formula One. The Italian giant seems to be doubling down on the sport at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ expense. THeir strategy could be creating a three-team voting bloc against the FIA’s proposed changes to its 2019 engine regulations.
Both Haas and Sauber already run Ferrari powertrains. But Haas is the only customer team to use a current powertrain this season. The cash-strapped Sauber laboured on with a 2016 power unit. The new deals will see both teams use current Ferrari powertrains which Fiat-Chrysler will pay for. Maserati has been contacted for an official comment, but its spokespeople knew nothing of the deal. Marchionne hinted that his Formula One deal-making might not be over.
Marchionne said “Is it possible for the Haas arrangement to turn into something other than what we have today? The answer is potentially ‘yes’. But we’re very far away from a resolution on that matter, but it’s possible. We’ll see, time will tell.”
The Maserati brand had a glorious Formula One history.The legendary Juan Manuel Fangio won the last of its two driver’s championships in a 250F in 1957. the Italian marquee has nine Grand Prix wins to its credit. All the wins came courtesy the post-war 250F that was still a Formula One force in private hands into 1960. The 250F also helped Maria Teresa de Fillipis become the first woman to race in Formula One Grand Prix in 1958.
The 250F was also used by private teams and was driven by the likes of World Champions like Sir Jack Brabham, Phil Hill and Mike Hawthorn. Other big-name racers like Carroll Shelby, Masten Gregory, Roy Salvadori and Jo Bonnier also got behind the wheel of the 250F.