Guenther Steiner may not end up being on the F1 jobs market for very long, as he’s got plenty of options…
Steiner is on the job hunt for 2024 after being released from the Haas team, although the Italian is eager to take a little bit of downtime after 10 frantic years struggling to improve the midfield team.
Steiner is infinitely employable, given his long career as an F1 team boss and all that it entails, as well as his indomitable personality. So, to that end, let’s explore what options he might have going forward – if he’s even remotely interested!
The obvious choice – an opinionated F1 pundit
Given Steiner became a media darling out of nowhere, due to engaging a captive audience through Netflix’s Drive to Survive, him becoming a bluntly honest and opinionated F1 pundit would be very fun for everyone.
He’s well connected, has incredibly recent F1 knowledge both in front of the curtain and behind the scenes, and his choice of words is often very amusing – he’d be a great addition for any TV broadcaster (or F1 website, hi Guenther!)
There’s a high chance this one may have already come to pass. As Sky F1 recently confirmed to PlanetF1.com, a new mystery pundit has been added to their roster for 2023. This was shortly after Steiner received his marching orders.
Added to that was David Croft’s ‘jokes’ with him at Autosport International that he “has plenty of gigs lined up for him”…
“Sky F1?” said the commentator.
“I’d love [that] – honestly, me and Guenther in the commentary could be the best bleeped-out hour of TV ever. Me and my old mate swearing, that’d be fantastic.
“I’d like to see him do some punditry work because I think he knows and understands the sport, and has a great way of conveying what goes on and can bring a different bit to the party.”
A Netflix TV star with his own spin-off series
Steiner was one of the few personalities around which Drive to Survive thrived, which may or not have been to his ultimate detriment with the Haas F1 team.
Certainly, Steiner did a lot to raise the profile of himself and his team by courting that publicity (Does anyone know what Alessandro Alunni Bravi looks like?) while his writing of a book reflecting on the F1 2022 season showed a willingness to put himself out there.
Added to that is Steiner’s obvious interest in TV, given his interest in becoming a producer for a CBS workplace comedy show featuring a character based on his personality.
Steiner’s popularity means he could be made into a star with the right vehicle (no pun intended) for him, but what exactly could that be?
Everyone said Frasier wouldn’t work after the success of Cheers, and look at how that turned out for Kelsey Grammer…
With Amazon’s Grand Tour coming to an end, and BBC’s Top Gear retired, what about Steiner teaming up with fellow former team boss and close friend Mattia Binotto for them to engage in wacky, car-related hi-jinks and travel – preferably around Italy for a pizza and pasta-fueled jape?
Perhaps even get Otmar Szafnauer on board, and they could have a go at toppling the Clarkson/Hammond/May dominance of that incredibly popular but niche corner of automotive television. Can you imagine the sheer awkwardness of trying to establish a dynamic between that trio?
Don’t pretend you wouldn’t watch it.
Take inspiration from Cyril Abiteboul and head up a team in a different series
Steiner’s motorsport legacy isn’t just F1. Starting off as a mechanic with Mazda in rallying in the mid-1980s, he’s also worked with M-Sport and Ford in the World Rally Championship – including rally stars like Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz.
Following a stint with Jaguar in F1, in which he put the restructuring in place that would lead to better days as Red Bull bought out the team, Steiner moved to Opel and worked in DTM for two years before returning to F1 with Red Bull.
Following the arrival of Adrian Newey at the F1 team, Steiner moved to the United States to work with Red Bull’s NASCAR team – working as their technical director for two years.
Steiner is thus an adept hand at top-level motorsport, and his experience with Haas makes him a highly valuable prospect for any motorsport team.
Cyril Abiteboul, following his departure from F1, has carved out a new career path for himself with the Hyundai team – initially as team boss of their rallying team before taking on the huge role of overseeing all of Hyundai’s motorsport programme.
It therefore wouldn’t be surprising to see Steiner pop up with a senior role elsewhere – perhaps he could get involved with Ford’s arrival into F1 with Red Bull Powertrains, given his past links to both Ford and Red Bull?
Do the unthinkable – rejoin Red Bull?
Red Bull has lost some high-end people over the past two years – Dan Fallows and Rob Marshall being the big names.
While the team obviously isn’t struggling for talent at the moment, Steiner’s pedigree and past with the team could make him an attractive hire – particularly if Christian Horner feels like delegating some duties.
After all, Steiner didn’t fall out with Red Bull – the reason Horner had looked to move Steiner elsewhere was simply due to Steiner being in a role he wasn’t best suited to.
“Guenther was and is a character but it was obvious he was not a technical leader,” Horner said.
“I identified what the team really needed was technical leadership and direction. So from a very early stage, I made a point of bumping into Adrian [Newey].”
Should Horner and Red Bull ever part ways, David Croft is intrigued to see how Steiner would get on as his replacement.
“If all else fails, I’d like to see him [Guenther] go back to Red Bull and replace Christian Horner,” Croft said, before quickly backtracking to praise the Red Bull team boss.
“Christian Horner is the best team principal Red Bull could ever wish to have. He has proved that with the success that they’ve had – Christian Horner has been a team principal of Red Bull for 18 years. The rest of the team principals on the grid put together? 16 years. Yeah, he must be doing something right.”
A switch to the FIA to bolster governing body’s brain drain
With the FIA having recently lost two high-profile names from its organisational structure, perhaps a team boss who is as razor-sharp as you can get would be a good hire to help shape the direction of the sport.
Sporting director Steve Nielsen has departed, being replaced by an internal promotion for Tim Malyon. The FIA’s technical director Tim Goss is also on his way out.
Given the seat shuffling going on, getting Steiner on board with his willingness to share the unfiltered truth about what teams are doing and wanting to achieve might be a good idea for the FIA to sign as a resource.
Similarly, F1 itself could also look to sign Steiner as a global ambassador for the sport. After all, it was his strong personality that contributed to the success of Drive to Survive and the explosion in F1’s popularity.
“I’d like him to be an ambassador for the sport that he loves and also help shape the media outlook, the social media outlook, the marketing outlook, and just go out there and help us all celebrate Formula 1 and take it to new audiences,” David Croft said.
“One thing Guenther has done over the years is he stopped becoming a famous face in the world of F1 – he’s just become a famous face in the world. Drive to Survive would have been nothing without Guenther’s interactions, it really would.
“So who better to stop the sport we love being the best-kept secret on the planet and being the most popular sport on the planet? That’s what I’d like to seek Guenther do – some sort of mission, some sort of ambassadorial role working with Formula 1.”