Steiner takes issue with Andretti ‘European club’ comments

Sam Cooper
Guenther Steiner looking serious in a press conference. Baku June 2022

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner looking serious in a press conference. Baku June 2022

Guenther Steiner has criticised Michael Andretti for his “not constructive” comments about F1 being a “European Club.”

Having stated their desire to join the sport in 2024, the Andretti family is becoming increasingly frustrated at what they perceive to be stubbornness from the existing teams of the paddock in welcoming a new team to the fold.

The bid is being led by Michael Andretti, son of 1978 F1 World Champion, Mario, and the 59-year-old has criticised the current teams on the grid for still being what he described as a “European club.”

He raced in F1 for one season in 1993, retiring in seven races, and said he is getting the feeling that attitudes have not changed since then.

“It was a definite European club [in 1993],” Andretti said, as reported by the Race.

“And I’m getting the feeling it’s still the European club, the way we’re being treated. Because we would be a threat. The first real international team.

“It’s a very snobbish approach they’re taking. Ultimately, we’re going to bring more value than we’re going to take away.”

Whilst the Haas team has a base in Maranello, Italy as well as Banbury, England, they identify themselves as an American team with their headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Team boss Steiner took issue with Andretti’s comments, describing them as “not constructive.”

“I don’t know what he’s trying to achieve with these comments but that’s down to Michael,” the Italian-American said at the press conference during the Austrian Grand Prix.

“It’s not really our decision to give him a licence or not, you know. We have got an opinion but I don’t think we can decide that one.

“So we don’t know what he presented or I don’t know why – I shouldn’t speak for other people – I don’t know what he presented to FIA and FOM (Formula One Management) so I have no idea. Obviously, in my opinion, these comments, they’re not constructive, or, you know, taking forward but you live by your choices.”

Mattia Binotto and Toto Wolff were present alongside Steiner for the press conference and echoed his thoughts, saying it was not up to them to decide who gets a licence.

“I never met Michael myself so I don’t know what it’s about,” Binotto said. “So are we supportive or not? I cannot comment because I never had a discussion. So I don’t know what they’re presenting. I don’t know what they’re looking for. And as Gunther said I think it’s not down to us to decide whether the extra licence…

Wolff meanwhile said he had spoke to Mario Andretti just twice on the phone.

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