Gene Haas' endeavour into Formula 1 was primarily to build Haas Automation into a global brand, but B2B opportunities with rival teams are now emerging.
Founded by Haas in 1983, the American entrepreneur has built Haas Automation into the largest machine tool manufacturer in North America.
The company's involvement in NASCAR through the Stewart-Haas Racing outfit has been productive, and its presence in F1 is following a similar path.
"In racing, it’s all about performance, and that performance translates into winning," explains Haas.
"When you win, people notice, so that’s the marketing plan.
"We bring customers to the races and that works really well because – especially in Formula One – it’s pretty much impossible to even get into the pits unless you know a team, so we’re bringing a lot of our special customers only to these racetracks.
"It makes them feel special, and that translates into their perception of us and how they relate to people in their industry. That’s led to some good B2B opportunities.
"We do it in NASCAR a lot, and a lot of our competing teams use Haas Automation equipment. We’ve had Formula One teams ask about how to procure equipment from us, and if we weren’t there, that’s probably something that wouldn’t have happened."
Judging by the interest shown by potential customers in Haas' racing activities, Haas Automation's brand recognition is definitely on the rise.
"I would say half the time at machine tool trade shows, people want to talk about the car," says Haas.
"People have a very big interest in the racing part of it and also from the machine tool side of it. So, it kind of brings it all together in terms of how they see us and the products we sell."
"At Haas Automation’s headquarters in Oxnard, California, we track website hits, and you can definitely see spikes when people will look at our machine tool site and then go to the racing part of it and want to keep up to date with what happened over the race weekend and, specifically, how we did in Formula One," adds Haas.
"There’s a lot of interest, and it’s good to keep people engaged – not just on the machine tool side, but on the racing side as well, and merging those things together."