Haas has decided to part ways with their charismatic team principal, Guenther Steiner, dealing a blow to the world of Formula 1.
Guenther Steiner, the principal of the Haas team, has been replaced for the upcoming Formula One season after a decade in the role. This change is unfortunate for the sport, as Steiner is known for his colorful and charismatic personality in the paddock. He also played a significant part in the recent rise of F1’s popularity, particularly in the United States.
On Wednesday, the team based in the US, with a factory in Banbury, Oxfordshire, revealed that the 58-year-old will be stepping down and will be succeeded by their former engineering director, Ayao Komatsu. It is believed that Steiner’s contract, which had expired, was not renewed rather than him being fired.
Steiner’s bold and outspoken demeanor on the Netflix show Drive to Survive quickly made him a fan favorite. His no-nonsense approach to his role and his drivers, as well as his colorful and passionate use of profanity, resonated with viewers. He often drew larger crowds at public events compared to his own drivers, and his book, released last year, was a huge success. As the only team principal to sell T-shirts with his likeness, Steiner has proven to be a profitable brand.
The team has been performing below expectations, despite their financial constraints. They ranked last in the constructors’ championship last year and placed eighth in 2022.
Gene Haas, the owner, expressed dissatisfaction with the outcomes even though Steiner has been with the team since its inception. It is believed that Steiner played a crucial role in securing the team’s main sponsor, MoneyGram.
Haas stated that it was apparent that their on-track performances needed to be enhanced. While they have achieved some victories, it is crucial for them to consistently produce results that contribute to their overall objectives as a company.
In addition to being a highly vibrant individual, Steiner was greatly valued and regarded in the racing community, particularly for his ability to achieve success with limited means. The team was created with the goal of utilizing as many factory parts from Ferrari as allowed by regulations to minimize expenses for development.
Other teams were critical of the model, as Haas only focused on the chassis and aerodynamics of their car. Despite this, it proved to be a successful strategy for them as they were able to compete without the same financial burden as other teams of similar size. However, their limited capacity to innovate and make adjustments to the car has been a recurring obstacle that they have yet to conquer.
Since 2016, Komatsu has been a member of the team and will now be responsible for overseeing the team’s non-competitive management in a newly-created position.