Gunther Steiner, the former Haas F1 team boss, recently reflected on the role his portrayal in the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ may have played in his departure from the team. Despite Haas finishing last in the 2023 season, Steiner’s distinct personality made him a fan favorite on the show.
Bernie Ecclestone, the former F1 supremo, weighed in on the matter, telling f1-insider.com, “There has never been a more unsuccessful team boss in Formula 1 who still became a superstar thanks to a US documentary. In my time, when only performance mattered, this didn’t exist.”
Haas owner Gene Haas expressed his frustration, finding it embarrassing that despite a strong partnership with Ferrari, the team’s most notable achievement was its popular team principal, rather than success on the track.
When asked if his Netflix fame might have irked the team management, Steiner acknowledged the possibility: “Perhaps that played a role. But the fact is, Haas benefited enormously from this popularity. This made contact with sponsors such as Moneygram possible.” He stated this in an interview with Speed Week. Despite his newfound fame, Steiner insists that personal recognition was never his goal: “It was never about becoming famous for me… I got up to go to work.”
Steiner also speculated that a lack of investment might have been a core issue for the team. “When the budget cap was introduced, most teams invested in their infrastructure… I can’t blame Gene Haas… What is obvious is that without my work we could have closed in 2020.”
Steiner is now looking forward to spending time with his family, awaiting his next professional opportunity.