Guenther Steiner on Drive to Survive fame, reveals alternative F1 weekend format

Sam Cooper
Guenther Steiner in the paddock. Bahrain February 2023.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner walks through the paddock. Bahrain February 2023.

Guenther Steiner may have become one of the breakout stars of Drive to Survive but says he has no problems with the series and the increased attention.

When the first series of the show debuted in 2019, not many would have predicted the team principal of a constructor who just finished fifth would make for some of the most compelling viewing and yet Steiner has become a cult hit.

Through his unique personality and his rather liberal use of the f-word, Steiner has resonated with a large portion of the show’s audience, to the point that his face can be seen plastered on T-shirts during a race weekend. He even has his own book coming out next month called Surviving to Drive.

But even if he has a new found level of fame, Steiner said he has not even watched an episode and has not changed who he is as a result of the show.

“I never did watch it,” he told the Daily Mail. “I want to avoid it. If you look at yourself, you change, and I don’t want to do that. You want to do better or improve. But I am not an actor, so I don’t need to do better. If I don’t watch, I don’t feel the pressure when I do it next time. I don’t want to change. There is no point now.

“When one person spots you, the crowd comes. Dining around the races can be difficult —it’s not difficult, it’s just people wanting to speak to you.

“I always oblige them because it would be arrogant not to, and I’m not arrogant. If it’s too much after a bad day, you just don’t go out for dinner. My daughter is 13 and she would ask ‘Do you know this guy?’ ‘No.’ You go down the street and people know your name. ‘Hello Guenther, how’s it going?’

“That’s just the way it is now, and I don’t mind. And if hardcore fans don’t like Netflix, they don’t need to watch it. It takes nothing away from the racing.”

Steiner is the fourth-longest serving team principal on the grid having joined Haas since its inception in April 2014 and also spoke about his entry into motorsport and his friendship with Niki Lauda when the two were at Jaguar Racing.

“Niki asked if there are any talented people at Ford,” Steiner recalled. “And the reply was there’s Guenther. The guy lied!”

Steiner also said he has campaigned for an alternate F1 weekend format which would scrap the majority of practice sessions. recommends

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The current non-sprint weekend schedule for an F1 race works with three practice sessions held across Friday and Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon and then the race on Sunday.

There is some slight variation with the 2023 season set to play host to six sprint races, a 100% rise from 2022, which sees the first practice on Friday morning followed by qualifying, another practice on Saturday morning before the sprint race and the full length race on the Sunday.

But Haas boss Steiner wants even more change, revealing he campaigned to Formula 1 bosses to have the number of practice sessions scaled back to just one.

“Qualifying on Friday for a sprint race. Then on Saturday morning, qualifying for the grand prix. Sprint race on Saturday afternoon. I have made the case to the Formula One Group.”

It seems Steiner’s case has as of yet gone unanswered.