Guenther Steiner has admitted it stung to not say goodbye to his Haas team after he left the team at the start of 2024 when his contract was not renewed.
Steiner and Haas parted ways after eight seasons together in Formula 1, with Ayao Komatsu being promoted to team principal. The Italian found the news out between Christmas and New Year over a phone call with owner Gene Haas.
Gene Haas had enough of the disappointing results for Haas after they finished 10th in the Constructors Championship for a second time in three years last season.
“I didn’t have the chance to say thank you to a few people when I left Haas,” said Steiner at Autosport International. “I would just like to thank all the team members, which I couldn’t give a proper goodbye to when I left.
“I want to say also thank you to all the fans which supported us while I was there, so it’s fantastic. I really appreciate it.
“It stung to not say bye. But they all know me and know that I still appreciate what they did. It’s always best to say it to them vocally but it would be nice to say ‘hey guys, thanks for all what you did for the team’.
“It was a team that was very small and ran on adrenaline a lot of times. They did a good job and I want to say thank you to them. It doesn’t make you happy not saying thank you.”
Steiner surprised by Haas decision
Steiner helped launch the Haas F1 team in 2016 as he recruited staff and developed partnerships from two years prior to their on-track debut.
His no nonsense character was brought to light in Netflix’s Drive to Survive series from 2018 when his eccentric personality was enjoyed by thousands of new fans.
The 58-year-old, who was also part of the Jaguar and Red Bull F1 teams prior to Haas, didn’t expect to not be handed a new contract by Haas but understands the decision.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” said Steiner. “Gene felt that is the way he wants to take the team forward. It’s his decision, not my one. He owns the place and if you own something, you have got the right to do what you want.
“F1 has changed a lot in the last 10 years, especially after the Covid period – how much it grew, how much bigger it got and how different it got with the budget cap.
“If you look at all the other teams, they are all gearing up. They started to gear up two years ago, some last year, so everybody is getting stronger and investing a lot in the future.”