Steiner’s shock exit: Is Haas on brink of F1 takeover?

The Formula 1 community is buzzing with speculation following Gunther Steiner’s unexpected departure from Haas, sparking rumors about a potential takeover by Andretti-Cadillac. Autosprint, an Italian publication, is questioning whether team owner Gene Haas is losing interest in F1, as suggested by the headline “Is Gene Haas fed up with F1?”

Steiner’s exit was confirmed between Christmas and New Year, following a challenging 2023 season where Haas finished at the bottom of the standings. Additionally, Haas appears to be the only team without a confirmed engine deal for the 2026 regulations, raising questions about the future of its technical partnership with Ferrari.

Amidst these developments, Simone Resta, a notable figure at Ferrari, is also reported to be leaving Haas. This has led prominent journalists like Michael Schmidt from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport to speculate whether Haas could be an acquisition target for Andretti, potentially facilitating their F1 entry in 2025.

Schmidt suggests that a disagreement over the team’s future direction may have caused the rift between Haas and Steiner, with Haas favoring the status quo and Steiner advocating for increased investment.

Long-time Haas engineer Ayao Komatsu has stepped up as Steiner’s successor. However, Schmidt raises concerns about the team’s prospects, suggesting that a sale could be a way for Gene Haas to recoup his investments.

The situation has drawn comments from various figures in the F1 world. Ralf Schumacher, often a critic of Haas, sees this as an opportunity for improvement. He told Auto Bild, “The fish always rots from the head,” implying that Steiner’s departure might lead to positive changes.

Dr. Helmut Marko of Red Bull attributes Steiner’s downfall partly to his heightened popularity from the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive.’ Marko believes Steiner’s attempt to leverage this popularity into a stake in the team may have been a step too far for Haas, emphasizing that in F1, the team always takes precedence over individuals.

Franz Tost, the former Alpha Tauri boss, echoed the high-pressure environment in F1, noting that when mid-season car development fails, blame is inevitably assigned.

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