Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner Speak Their Minds After Steiner Exit

January 14, 2024Ramon Jones
Formula 1

Earlier this week Haas made a shocking revelation that fan beloved team principal Guenther Steiner would be immediately replaced as team Principal at Haas. Now that the dust has settled both team owner Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner have made public comments on the matter.

Guenther Steiner Responded to being Blindsided by the Move

“I didn’t have the chance to say thank you to a few people when I left Haas F1. I would just like to thank all the team members which I couldn’t give a proper goodbye to when I left…I want to say also thank you to all the fans who supported Haas while I was there – it’s fantastic. It’s one of those occasions, with so many people here. Thanks for coming as well, [for me] to say thank you to everybody for the support I got and I’m getting.

“It stung [not being able to say goodbye to the team], but they all know me and that I still appreciate what they did. It would be nice to say, ‘Hey guys, thanks for all that you did’, because the team started very small, running on adrenaline a lot of times, and they did a good job. Obviously it doesn’t make you happy not saying thank you, but I think I did it now.”

Steiner Continued Regarding the Phone Call That Ended His Role

“Gene called me and said that he doesn’t want to extend the contract which was up at the end of the season, and that was it. I don’t know [if it was a surprise]. It’s always a little bit of a surprise, but then in the end, he owns the team, he can do what he wants and it’s his decision.

I think [whether a change was needed] can be answered only in time. I cannot answer that one because otherwise I could say what is happening in the future. Gene thought that is the way he wants to take the team forward and, as I said, it’s his decision, not my one. He owns the place, so if you own something you’ve got the right to do what you want.”

Gene Haas Offered his Comments to Regarding the Decision to Sack Steiner

“It came down to performance,” Gene Haas tells me when we spoke exclusively via a video call. “Here we are in our eighth year, over 160 races – we have never had a podium. The last couple of years, we’ve been 10th or ninth.

I’m not sitting here saying it’s Guenther’s fault, or anything like that, but it just seems like this was an appropriate time to make a change and try a different direction, because it doesn’t seem like continuing with what we had is really going to work.”

Gene Haas, Owner and Founder, Haas F1, and Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 during the Formula One United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas Texas, USA. (Photo by Andy Hone / Motorsport Images)

Funding Could Become an Issue if Haas Can’t Find Results

After finishing at the bottom of the championship table the Haas camp is regrouping for 2024. Haas has the smallest budget of all F1 teams but Gene Haas claims that is not the source of their shortcomings. He stated, “I just think we don’t do a very good job of spending that money. A lot of teams have had previous investments in their infrastructure, buildings, equipment and personnel. Our model was to outsource a lot of that. We spend a lot of money. We haven’t exceeded the cap but we’re pretty darn close to it. I just don’t think we’re doing a very good job of spending it in the most effective way.”

It appears that Haas has a spending problem and a funding problem which is not a positive space for a team looking to stay in F1. Gene Haas personally bankrolls a portion of the operating costs for the team which could explain the rapid decision regarding Steiner. Nonetheless it’s clear that Haas is undergoing some personnel and possibly team culture. Whether removing Steiner will be a positive move is yet to be determined. However, it’s clear the timing of the whole debacle puts Haas at a disadvantage as their competitors have already move forward on 2024 development with more unified fronts.