Gene Haas

Gene Haas Discusses Guenther Steiner’s Departure and Its Impact on Team’s Future

Haas F1 Team has caused shockwaves since entering Formula 1 in 2016, from scoring points in their debut to an incredible 5th place constructors’ finish in 2018. But this week’s announcement that Team Principal Guenther Steiner has parted ways with the organization after nearly a decade delivered their biggest jolt yet.

In an exclusive interview, team owner Gene Haas explained the move: “It’s about performance. In over 160 races, we’ve never had a podium finish. The last years we’ve been 9th or 10th.”

While not blaming Steiner directly, Haas felt change was needed after disappointing recent results: “Continuing the status quo doesn’t seem to be working.” Still, ending the successful partnership was difficult after building the team together and securing Haas’ place on the grid. “I like Guenther, he’s a nice person with a great personality,” Haas reflected.

Haas believes new Team Principal Ayao Komatsu’s extensive F1 experience will provide a more data-driven, engineering focus to improve competitiveness. Rather than looking externally at seasoned candidates like Mattia Binotto or Otmar Szafnauer, Haas opted for in-house continuity, noting at his Haas Automation company: “Bringing in outsiders takes time to learn and you may not even like them.”

While clearly frustrated missing out on a top-8 constructors spot, Haas stresses he remains committed to F1 for the long term, not looking for a quick “cash out.” Despite having the smallest budget, he thinks the team’s struggles aren’t just about spending, but inefficient allocation of resources. As a 40-year CEO, Haas prides efficiency as key to success.

Sponsors and F1 prize money remain important income streams, “so better results help attract sponsors and get more money,” Haas reasons. But rather than sell equity to outside investors focused on short-term profits, Haas wants to leverage the team’s existing advantages like its close Ferrari ties: “They build incredible engines and suspensions for us since day one, I’m embarrassed we haven’t done better.”

In closing, while the Steiner split was difficult, Haas believes a culture shift will reinvigorate his team towards its ultimate goal: reaching the coveted F1 podium at long last.