Steiner speaks out: Urges Haas to rethink its entire approach

Gunther Steiner’s tenure at Haas came to an abrupt end following a disagreement with Gene Haas, the team’s owner, regarding the necessity for the American outfit to pivot its strategy within Formula 1.

The longstanding chief of the team disclosed that he found Gene Haas’ phone call over the Christmas break unexpected, which led to the revelation that his contract would not be extended into 2024. “You work with someone for ten years and then you get a call like that – that’s strange,” Steiner expressed to Formule 1 magazine. “But otherwise I was ok. I just move on, it’s fine.”

Haas found itself at the bottom of the constructors’ championship the previous year, primarily due to the 2023 car’s excessive tyre wear during races.

However, Haas has managed to secure a point after the first two races of 2024, outperforming teams like Williams, Sauber, RB, and Alpine. Ayao Komatsu, Steiner’s successor, likened scoring points under the current competitive environment to “gold dust,” acknowledging the challenge for teams outside the top five in the standings. “It’s like gold dust because we have five top teams and the rest of us are effectively competing for tenth place,” he told Ekstra Bladet.

“We are the smallest team, so I assume that whatever we found in terms of laptime over the winter, the others found too. As a minimum,” the Japanese added.

Steiner had cautioned Gene Haas about the need for substantive changes to prevent the team from falling to the last position again this season. The disagreement over this direction was the catalyst for their parting.

“Something had to change,” Steiner stated, now working as a TV pundit.

“If you understand the sport, you just have to open your eyes and look at what the others are doing. And Haas doesn’t do that,” he added, emphasizing that the team’s current approach is outdated and ineffective in the modern F1 era.

“I’m not saying Haas did it wrong – it’s just that everyone else did it right,” said the 58-year-old. “Formula 1 has changed from when Haas started to where it has gone in the last five years. It’s a completely different playing field now. They’re all strong teams.

“At some point, you won’t get anywhere with this approach. It just doesn’t work anymore.”

GMM

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