Leading F1 correspondent sheds light on apparent Steiner-Haas clash

Jamie Woodhouse
Former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner and owner Gene Haas wearing sunglasses.

Guenther Steiner and Gene Haas wearing sunglasses.

Formula 1 presenter and correspondent Lawrence Barretto said Guenther Steiner and Haas team owner Gene Haas could not agree on how the future looked for the team, leading to their parting of ways.

Steiner put the foundations in place to bring the Haas squad into existence, securing the backing of Gene Haas, agreeing the key Ferrari and Dallara technical partnerships and interviewing all staff to bring the team together.

Haas joined the F1 grid in 2016 but now for the first time in their history, they have a brand new team principal for F1 2024, as Ayao Komatsu ascends the ranks to take on the role.

Guenther Steiner and Gene Haas split on team future

The Haas statement to confirm Steiner’s exit did not feature any comments from Steiner, Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle saying that is a clear indicator that “friction” was present, a suggestion which has now been expanded on by Barretto.

Addressing the situation on X, Barretto said Steiner and Gene Haas “had differing views on the team’s path forward” and with Steiner’s contract up at the end of 2023, no renewal was signed and Steiner headed for the exit.

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“Guenther Steiner, the driving force behind bringing Haas F1 Team into F1 and keeping them in F1 for 8 seasons including through the pandemic, has left his role as team principal,” Barretto wrote.

“He will be replaced by their director of engineering Ayao Komatsu with immediate effect.

“I understand Steiner and owner Gene Haas had differing views on the team’s path forward and thus it was decided to go their separate ways.

“I believe Steiner’s contract expired at the end of last year. Following the disagreement on the future strategy, that contract wasn’t renewed.”

Gene Haas did shed some light on the motive for Steiner’s departure, hinting that he wanted an “engineer” at the “heart” of their management moving forward, hence Komatsu being named as Steiner’s replacement.

“I’d like to start by extending my thanks to Guenther Steiner for all his hard work over the past decade and I wish him well for the future,” said Gene Haas.

“Moving forward as an organisation it was clear we need to improve our on-track performances. In appointing Ayao Komatsu as team principal we fundamentally have engineering at the heart of our management.

“We have had some successes, but we need to be consistent in delivering results that help us reach our wider goals as an organisation. We need to be efficient with the resources we have but improving our design and engineering capability is key to our success as a team.

“I’m looking forward to working with Ayao and fundamentally ensuring that we maximise our potential – this truly reflects my desire to compete properly in Formula 1.”

Like Steiner, Komatsu has been part of the Haas team since its F1 debut in 2016.

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