Guenther Steiner has responded to Gene Haas’s remarks that he was embarrassed by the team’s results, admitting “nobody in the team was proud” to finish bottom of the Championship in F1 2023.
It emerged on Wednesday that Steiner had left Haas after 10 years with the American outfit, having overseen the team’s F1 entry at the start of the 2016 season.
Steiner’s departure came after Haas finished 10th in the Constructors’ standings for the second time in three years in 2023, with Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg limited to just four points finishes across the season.
Guenther Steiner addresses Gene Haas criticism
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper
Haas’s poor on-track performance comes despite having a long-term technical partnership with Ferrari, which allows the team to run as many parts built by the Scuderia as is allowed under F1’s regulations.
Speaking following Steiner’s departure, Mr Haas said he had been left “embarrassed” that the team “haven’t been able to do better” with Ferrari’s assistance.
In his first public appearance since his exit at Autosport International, witnessed by PlanetF1.com’s Sam Cooper, Steiner was invited to respond to Haas’s comments.
“If he feels like this, that’s his feeling and he can say it,” he said.
“Obviously, nobody in the team is proud to be 10th. We didn’t have a good season in ’23, we all know that.
“But in my opinion, when you’re down it’s not how you get down [but] how you get up again.
“That’s just my life motto and that is what you have to think about: to not be embarrassed about anything, just keep on going and make it better.”
Asked if he had any advice to his former employers, he added: “I would say to the to the team: just keep on working. There’s a lot of good people there.
“Just keep your head down and keep on digging. You will get there.”
Steiner’s comments came in a wide-ranging interview in which he openly discussed his departure from the team, admitting at one stage that he is “not really interested” in Haas anymore.
Following suggestions that Steiner and Mr Haas clashed over the future direction of the team, the former team principal hinted that Haas’s unique model of adopting Ferrari parts cannot work in modern F1.
He said: “I think the model we had in Formula 1, 10 years ago, when we started – Formula 1 has changed a lot.
“Formula 1 changed a lot after the COVID period – how much it grew, how much bigger it got, how much different it got with the budget cap and how to use the budget cap to get ideas and how to do things.”