Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen have thanked Guenther Steiner, who gave them both a second chance in Formula 1, following the confirmation of his shock exit from Haas.
Shortly after news broke that technical director Simone Resta had left Haas, the bombshell was dropped that team principal Steiner was also out of the door, with trackside engineering director Ayao Komatsu stepping up to become the new team boss.
Team owner Gene Haas also confirmed that a European-based chief operating officer will be appointed, with the brief of managing all ‘non-competition matters and departments’.
Haas drivers wish Guenther Steiner well
Following the news of Steiner’s immediate Haas departure, the team’s drivers, Magnussen and Hulkenberg, took to social media to offer their reaction.
Magnussen first joined the team back in 2017, marking the start of his opening four-year spell with Haas, one which perhaps was best remembered for the iconic and hilarious “fok smash door” incident captured on Netflix’s Drive to Survive.
Magnussen would return to the team ahead of the 2022 campaign.
“Thanks, Günther,” Magnussen posted. “Thanks for taking me on the journey in 2017 and thanks for bringing me on board again in 2022.
“It has been both fun and tremendously challenging – but never boring. So long and all the best.”
It was a similar situation for Hulkenberg, who was also thrown an F1 career lifeline by Steiner at Haas.
After dropping off the grid following the 2019 campaign, it looked like Hulkenberg’s F1 story going forward may well be restricted to his handful of super-sub appearances for Racing Point and later under their current Aston Martin identity.
He returned to the grid full-time though for F1 2023, replacing Mick Schumacher at Haas and impressing in his first season with the team, the highlight being qualifying P2 at the Canadian Grand Prix.
He too thanked the “character” Steiner for that second opportunity in Formula 1, but beyond that, for their “friendship”.
“Thanks, Guenther,” he wrote. “For your trust, friendship and the opportunity to go racing in F1 again! You’re definitely a character.. all the best!”
The Haas team statement notably featured no words from Steiner on his bombshell exit, but he will be speaking live at Saturday’s Autosport International event, where PlanetF1.com’s Sam Cooper will be in attendance.