Autosport Awards
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Autosport Awards

John Bolster Award: Carl Haas

Legendary American team owner Carl Haas was presented with the John Bolster Award for technical achievement on behalf of his Newman/Haas partnership with the late Paul Newman at tonight's Autosport Awards in London

John Bolster Award: Carl Haas

"It was a great programme we had together and we really miss him," he said. "In 24 years we won a lot of races and worked with some great people."

A sportscar racer in the 1950s, Haas's decision to switch to team ownership made him one of the most successful and influential figures in American motor racing.

In the last four decades, he has run teams in a vast array of series, including NASCAR, Formula 5000, Can-Am and even Formula One, where he was the driving force behind the ill-fated Beatrice project with Lola and Ford in 1985-6.

But it was his partnership with the late Paul Newman in Indy and Champ Car racing that made Haas a legend.

Formerly rival team owners in Can-Am, Newman and Haas joined forces for the 1983 CART IndyCar season, hiring former F1 champion Mario Andretti and taking third in the championship at the first attempt.

Andretti paid this tribute to his former team boss: "As I look back with fondness on the 12 years I drove for you, I know this honour is truly deserved.

"Your victories and championships were a testament to your passion and love for the sport, and the outstanding team you assembled during the years.

"Congratulations on this lifetime achievement award, well done my friend."

The title followed in 1984, a result that Newman/Haas would repeat with Andretti's son Michael in 1991, and F1 convert Nigel Mansell in 1993.

Although always front-runners, the team had to wait until Cristiano da Matta dominated the 2002 season before they could celebrate another crown.

By then, the US open-wheel split had reached its nadir, and Newman/Haas stayed loyal to the fading series now known as Champ Car while many of their arch-rivals headed for the Indy Racing League.

Their partnership with Sebastien Bourdais delivered an unprecedented four straight titles from 2004 to 2007, before the team (now co-owned with Mike Lanigan) faced one of their biggest challenges yet as the merger with the IRL IndyCar Series left them playing catch-up.

Unsurprisingly, it was Haas's squad who got to grips with the Dallara IndyCar quickest, winning at St Petersburg and Detroit - the latter result coming just weeks before Newman passed away.

Haas will continue without his long-time partner, running at least a one-car operation in next year's IndyCar Series

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