Guenther Steiner hits out at former team Haas over their ‘wrong’ F1 2024 approach

Thomas Maher
Guenther Steiner, 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Guenther Steiner believes his former team, Haas, shouldn't have downplayed expectations coming into 2024.

Guenther Steiner has said he believes the mentality taken by Haas into the 2024 F1 season was the “wrong thing to do”.

Following the departure of Steiner from the Haas team over the winter, the American squad moved to downplay their competitiveness coming into the new season.

Guenther Steiner: I knew the numbers in the wind tunnel

Ahead of the championship beginning in Bahrain, new team boss Ayao Komatsu had downplayed expectations for the new season, warning that the new VF-24 was very likely to be one of, if not the outright, slowest cars on the grid.

But Haas have been a pleasant surprise in the field over the first three races of 2024, with Nico Hulkenberg scoring points in Saudi Arabia and Australia, and Kevin Magnussen making it a double points finish by following the German home in Melbourne.

As a result, Haas now occupy seventh in the Constructors’ Championship and seem to have addressed a key weakness from recent year in that the car appears to no longer chew through its tyres, while still having decent single-lap pace.

Steiner, who is now watching on as an external observer of the team he led for almost a decade, has moved into media work and has also been confirmed as an ambassador for the Miami Grand Prix.

He believes that his former squad shouldn’t have moved to downplay expectations coming into 2024 and that their current form hasn’t come as a surprise to him.

“They did a good job and I always told Gene Haas [team owner] that I actually had it right on where they ended up to be, because I knew the numbers from the wind tunnel,” Steiner said.

“I think, in the beginning, they played it down to have an excuse to start off with and then it was better than they expected.

“That is, for me, wrong to do. And I think everybody was convinced it was this path, I was convinced that’s what it was.

“But, in my opinion, it’s not about this year, it’s about the mid-term.

“You can go from year to year and every year you can say: ‘Oh, we are bad’ and then you do better than you are.” recommends

F1 team principals: How long has each team boss been in charge?

F1 start time: What time does the Japanese Grand Prix start? How to watch and live stream

Guenther Steiner: I’m very happy for Haas

Steiner would have played a major role in the development process for the VF-24, together with former technical director Simone Resta, who also departed Haas over the winter in order to take up a new role with Mercedes.

Steiner stopped short of saying he had been instrumental in the car’s improvement, but praised Resta and the team for having unlocked the potential of what their recent cars could have achieved without the tyre wear issues.

“I’m not saying I… I say the team and Simone Resta did a good job because the car was done last year, it was done before I left,” he said.

“The car was finished, it was in assembly already.”

Seeing the team met with immediate reward for that effort, despite now being ousted, Steiner said he’s pleased to see so many colleagues having a more pleasant championship beginning.

“I’m very happy for the team that they score points because I like these guys,” he said.

“A lot of people have been there since the beginning, so I have no bad feelings about that.

“I’m actually pretty happy when they score points because I know the technical team in Italy did a good job last year. They worked very, very hard to produce the car that is running now.

“Only time will tell what’s happening in the future.”

Read Next: What makes Max Verstappen so good? World Champion driver offers key insight