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Guenther Steiner

Famous status was not a problem for Steiner: 'You can't always plan those things'

The departure of Guenther Steiner as Haas' Team Principal came as a surprise to F1. The Italian explains what he believes was needed to help Haas move forward again and says he did not see his fame as a problem.

Steiner Haas Britain
To news overview © XPBimages

Former Haas F1 Team Principal, Guenther Steiner, claimed Haas would not exist without his leadership through difficult times, after being unceremoniously ousted by team owner Gene Haas.

The 58 year-old spoke for the first time publicly and went into some detail about how it happened, with him confirming that Haas called him and elected not to renew his contract in between Christmas and New Years.

Technical Director Simone Resta, who had been with the team since 2021, also left in what were two major shakeups weeks before their 2024 challenger was unveiled.

Steiner recalled how the business model has changed in the last couple of years for F1 teams since the introduction of the cost cap, prompting the need for Haas to make changes at the top.

"It's a fair assessment to say that a lot of teams invested in infrastructure when the budget cap was introduced," Steiner told Sky Sports.

"That's not about spending money, it's an investment to make the best use of the budget cap. So you can use money to make the car faster.

"Some people started right away in 2020 and 2021 and others from last year, but everyone is doing it. It was one of the things where I looked at the others and made suggestions."

Steiner: Without me, the team would no longer exist in 2020

When COVID hit it affected a lot of teams finances, so much that it nearly caused Haas to drop off the grid due to the high costs associated with F1.

"Without me, the team wouldn't exist in 2020, but Gene owns the team. In the end, he can do whatever he wants. I can accuse him of something, but that doesn't accomplish anything. It's his decision," said Steiner.

Steiner came to prominence in F1 after his sweary comments in the Netflix series Drive to Survive, making him a target for social media posts and memes. But he never saw that as a problem.

"Looking back on it now, it may have been. Still, my fame earned the team a lot of attention and good sponsors, such as Moneygram. They thought that was cool and could use it," he explained.

"There are always positive and negative aspects, so maybe someone brought in the negative. These are things you can't always plan, because I really wasn't there to seek fame. It happened to me. I got up to work, not to become a famous person."

Steiner: I don't care about them anymore

Steiner recalled how the business model has changed in the last couple of years for F1 teams since the introduction of the cost cap, prompting the need for Haas to make changes at the top.

“We saw during COVID how much bigger it grew. How much different it got with the budget cap, how we used the budget cap," said Steiner speaking at ASI24.

“If you look at all the other teams, they were all gearing up. They are not gearing up now. They started to gear up, some three years ago, some years ago, some last year.

“I don’t know Gene Haas’s plans for the future. He didn’t share them with me. He doesn’t have to, by the way.

“I’m actually not really interested in it anymore.”

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