Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has opened up about the more troublesome effects of his fame as a result of Netflix’s Drive to Survive Formula 1 docuseries.
Steiner’s bluntness and lack of filter has made him one of stars of the Netflix show, with the Haas boss quickly becoming a household name.
The success of Drive to Survive has led to the launch of Steiner’s new book ‘Surviving to Drive’ detailing the ups and downs of Haas’s 2022 season.
In an interview with talkSPORT, Steiner has revealed that he noticed the impact of Drive to Survive almost immediately following the show’s launch in 2019, when he was made aware of his folk hero status in a meeting with his fellow F1 bosses.
“It was pretty clear,” he said.
“When it came out, we had an F1 Commission meeting where all the other team principals are, the CEO of FOM, the president of the FIA, and I come into the room and everybody starts to talk about it.
“I was a little bit, ‘What is happening here?’
“‘Have you seen it?’ No, I haven’t seen it guys.
“‘Yeah, but you’re this and you’re that’ and I was almost like, ‘What have I done in there that makes them all look at me and talk about it? Wow, [I] may have done something bad here, maybe I shouldn’t have done it!’
“There I realised there’s something [going] on but I decided not to watch it.
“Then shortly after we flew to Melbourne for the first race of that year and people in the aeroplane – because obviously there was some people travelling to the race – all knew who I was and they all knew me by name.
“It was very strange in the beginning.
“When I walked around with my daughter – she’s now 14 so then she was eight/nine years old – she said, ‘Do you know this guy?’ when they said, ‘Hey, Guenther.’
“I didn’t know obviously who the guy was and had to explain that I don’t know these people.”
Steiner admitted that the increased fan attention has made him more careful when it comes to his movement on a grand prix weekend.
He added: “It is a little bit more difficult because you want to give the fans something back when they recognise you.
“I’m not arrogant, you stop and you take a picture and so on.
“If you want to avoid them, you just don’t go there. You find another way out.
“But if fans are around and want a picture or an autograph, I give it.
“But you need to think more where and when you move.”
Steiner’s book is written in the familiar tone fans have come to love on Drive to Survive, with the Haas boss defending his use of foul language.
“I grew up learning English in an industrial environment so I know how you guys speak when you’re in private,” he explained.
“In interviews, I never use that language because I was told not to.
“All in all, it’s honest and sometimes I say things in the heat of the moment and in excitement which, if I think about two hours later, I would completely rephrase it.
“But in the moment when you are competing, I just get like this.
“I get emotional about it in one way or another and the language changes.
“As long as I don’t really offend anybody – a person – it’s not OK but it’s OK.”