Guenther Steiner admits ‘I stayed at Haas for too long’ after abrupt departure

Henry Valantine
Guenther Steiner arrives in Bahrain.

Guenther Steiner arrives.

Guenther Steiner has admitted he stayed at Haas for too long, having seen his stint as team principal end before the start of the 2024 season.

Steiner had been the only person to lead the team since they entered Formula 1 in 2016, but team owner Gene Haas opted to not renew Steiner’s contract at the beginning of this year in favour of a change of direction, with the team having fallen to bottom of the Constructors’ Championship last season.

Guenther Steiner: ‘I can see that I stayed at Haas too long’

Ayao Komatsu has since taken charge of the team for his first step up to a team principal’s role, but Steiner has been kept busy with multiple offers of work elsewhere – taking up a punditry role with German broadcasters RTL at seven rounds this season, and he was present at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Having been in the heart of Formula 1 for a long time, this is the first opportunity Steiner has had to step away from the pressure of the role he has held for almost a decade – which led him to the conclusion that he believes he stayed at Haas for too long.

He acknowledged that he would be willing to return to the sport in the future, but it would only be for the “right project, done right” – as he hopes to fight at the front of the field if he takes up another role in Formula 1.

“Life has been good since I left Haas ahead of this season,” Steiner wrote in a column for Formula1.com.

“These last few weeks are the first time I’ve switched off from F1 for around a decade. This time has been good for me. The longer time goes on, the more I can see that I stayed at Haas too long.

“When you step away, you get clarity – and you can see what you need to do. While you’re there, you’re in denial, you think you can do it but you cannot.

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“When I was there, with what we had, you could still fight for being seventh, eighth or ninth – but you couldn’t fight for podiums without the same weapons as the other guys.

“Doing that in the long-term is not what I want to do in life. I don’t want to be seventh again. I’ve done that. I want to be able to fight, to battle at the front.

“When Toto Wolff started with Mercedes, the team at the time was not at the top. Yes, they had the advantage of the engine at the beginning, but he set everything up right to be successful in the mid-term – and they won eight constructors’ championships.

“It’s the same thing with Red Bull. How long did it take for them to get there? Every year, they kept on getting better. You need that patience and long-term planning.

“I would come back to F1 in the future, but it needs to be the right project, done right.”

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