With Haas F1 stalwart Guenther Steiner shown the exit door, team owner Gene Haas clearly stated “it’s about performance”, as he is no longer prepared to accept last place.
When the new era of ground effect challengers rolled into Formula 1 for 2022, Haas made an impressive start, coming out of the blocks as a leading midfield team.
By the end of 2023 though, the momentum was fully drained, Haas sinking to P10 and last in the Constructors’ Championship with only 12 points scored.
Guenther Steiner pays price for poor Haas performance
It will be a new-look senior staff group for Haas once they return to action for F1 2024, with Simone Resta leaving the technical director post, while the bombshell news soon followed that team principal Steiner was gone too.
It means that for the first time, Haas has a new team principal, with their long-serving trackside engineering director Ayao Komatsu stepping up to the role, while a new European-based chief operating officer will be appointed to manage off-track matters.
Gene Haas stressed it is nothing personal when it comes to Steiner’s brutal axing, the figure who brought all the ingredients together to put Haas on the F1 grid, but at the end of the day, “it’s about performance”.
“It came down to performance,” he told the Formula 1 website.
“Here we are in our eighth year, over 160 races – we have never had a podium. The last couple of years, we’ve been 10th or ninth.
“I’m not sitting here saying it’s Guenther’s fault, or anything like that, but it just seems like this was an appropriate time to make a change and try a different direction, because it doesn’t seem like continuing with what we had is really going to work.
“I like Guenther, he’s a really nice person, a really good personality.
“We had a tough end to the year. I don’t understand that, I really don’t. Those are good questions to ask Guenther, what went wrong. At the end of the day, it’s about performance. I have no interest in being 10th anymore.”
Haas drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen will also hope the days of finishing last are now behind Haas. Steiner gave both drivers the chance to return to the grid, the Magnussen reunion coming in time for 2022, while Hulkenberg returned for F1 2023.
They took to social media to express their gratitude to Steiner following the news of his exit, wishing him the best for the future.
Hulkenberg wrote: “Thanks, Guenther. For your trust, friendship and the opportunity to go racing in F1 again! You’re definitely a character.. all the best!”
Magnussen added: “Thanks, Günther. Thanks for taking me on the journey in 2017 and thanks for bringing me on board again in 2022.
“It has been both fun and tremendously challenging – but never boring. So long and all the best.”
Both Hulkenberg and Magnussen are out of contract at Haas as it stands come the end of 2024.