- Sacked Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner
- Haas sacked Steiner on January 10
- Steiner was not given the chance to say his goodbye
Sacked Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner has spoken for the first time since his unceremonious exit from the team.
Haas sacked Steiner on January 10 in one of the most distasteful firings in Formula One. Steiner was not given the chance to say his goodbyes to the Haas personnel after his shock exit.
After being ousted as the team principal of the Haas F1 squad earlier this week, Steiner took the stage at a motorsport event in Birmingham, UK.
He shed light on the circumstances surrounding his departure and sharing his sentiments about his former team.
Guenther Steiner Speaks on His Sacking
In his first public appearance of 2024, Steiner clarified the key points from his interview.
Regarding how he learned about his dismissal from Haas, Steiner disclosed that Gene Haas informed him over a phone call between Christmas and the New Year.
He stated that the team would not be retaining him for the 2024 season. Reflecting on whether it caught him by surprise, Steiner remarked he still isn’t sure if it was a surprise.
“I don’t know if it was a surprise; it’s always a surprise, but then in the end, he owns the team, he can do what he wants – it’s his decision,” he told Autosport International.
He joined the team in 2016 and restructured it to what it is today. Reasons for his sacking were earlier reported to border on performance.
After a promising fifth-place finish in 2018, Haas’ results stagnated and even regressed. They finished 9th in 2019, 10th in 2021, and a dismal last in 2023.
Secondly, 2022 FIA regulation changes proved particularly challenging for Haas. Their car design philosophy, heavily reliant on Ferrari parts, seemed less effective under the new rules.
Steiner’s inability to adapt and find new solutions might have played a role in the team’s struggles. For this, he made headlines for Formula 1 2024 season.
Lastly, Steiner’s additional projects, including his book ‘Surviving to Drive’ and his involvement with CBS for a potential comedy show role sped up his firing. He did all of this while his team struggled to perform.
How Does Gunther Steiner Feel After Leaving Haas?
The Italian-American engineer says he feels hurt to date because he did not have an opportunity to bid his former colleagues goodbyes.
“It hurts [not being able to say goodbye], but they all know me and know that I appreciate what they have done. It is always best to tell them directly. It would be nice to say, ‘Hey guys, thank you for what you did for the team.’”
What is the Difference Between Haas and Other Teams According to Guenther Steiner?
Steiner diplomatically highlighted what he perceives as crucial distinctions between Haas and other Formula 1 teams.
He noted that Haas continues to maintain a distinctive approach by purchasing a significant number of components. They include their chassis, which he expressed uncertainty about.
Steiner said that failure to change some crucial designs for Haas may never sit well with the team. He said that F1 has changed so much in the last decade more so after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think the model we had in Formula 1, 10 years ago, when we started – F1 has changed a lot. F1 changed a lot after the COVID period – how much it grew, how much bigger it got, how much different it got with the budget cap, and how to use the budget cap to get ideas and how to do things.”
He says the biggest difference between Haas and other F1 teams is in infrastructural development. While the other nine Formula 1 teams have invested heavily in infrastructure, Haas has been left behind.
“If you look at all the other teams, they are all gearing up. They are not gearing up now – they started to gear up two, three years ago, last year. So everybody is getting stronger, investing a lot in the future, because Formula 1 is on a very good path where it’s going at the moment. That is what is needed to do to stay competitive,” Steiner explains.