Gunther Steiner has opened up about the real reason behind his exit from the Haas F1 Team, laying bare a fundamental clash of visions with team owner Gene Haas. As Haas gears up with its new contender for the 2024 season, newly appointed team boss Ayao Komatsu grimly forecasts a challenging path ahead, possibly anchoring the team at the back of the grid once again. “When we get to Bahrain, we will probably be towards the back of the field, if not completely in last place,” Komatsu candidly admits, pinpointing the “late start and a two-month break in development” as the culprits behind their predicament.
Steiner, however, traces the team’s struggle back to its adaptation—or lack thereof—to F1’s budget cap era, revealing a rift with Haas over investment strategies. “I wanted to invest in the team, he didn’t,” Steiner disclosed, underscoring the divergent paths each wished to take. This disagreement, he suggests, has left Haas grappling to keep pace with teams that have embraced the budget cap as an impetus for structural evolution. “Old structures no longer work,” Steiner explained, highlighting the necessity for investment in infrastructure and technology as keys to operational efficiency and competitive edge.
Despite Steiner’s vision of a grand new factory to lure top talent and foster a conducive working environment, the reins have now been passed to Komatsu, who remains optimistic about making strides within the team’s existing framework. “Even within our limited resources, we can do a better job,” Komatsu asserts, ready to tackle the challenge with a fresh approach and identified areas for improvement.
Steiner, meanwhile, steps back into a world filled with possibilities, buoyed by his newfound popularity from the Drive To Survive series and his ongoing ventures in North Carolina. With offers on the table, including potential television gigs, Steiner is in no hurry to decide his next move. “I’m taking it easy and seeing what happens,” he reflects, open to exploring the next chapter in his storied career in motorsports.