“Back in my day…”: Bernie Ecclestone takes sharp jibe at ditched Haas boss; Ralf Schumacher shows no mercy

Earlier this month, Gene Haas sent shockwaves across the F1 community by announcing the departure of team principal Guenther Steiner without so much as a statement from him in the press release. While the decision to promote Ayao Komatsu as team principal was confirmed, many fans were left unhappy about the fact that Steiner was shown the door.

However, the decision to get rid of Steiner has been met with approval from some of the sport’s biggest names, with former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher and ex-supremo Bernie Ecclestone taking the opportunity to ridicule the Italian-American’s achievements.

Bernie Ecclestone and Guenther Steiner. Credit: firstsportz.com
Bernie Ecclestone and Guenther Steiner. Credit: firstsportz.com

Such was the brutal nature of the shots fired at Steiner, that he was compared to a ‘stinky fish‘ by Ralf owing to his poor leadership skills.

This was probably expected given Steiner’s poor relationship with Ralf’s nephew Mick Schumacher during his time at Haas, when he publicly bad-mouther the performances of the German driver.

Meanwhile, Ecclestone felt that Steiner relied too much on his popularity from the Netflix docu-series Drive to Survive and it was indicative of how little value he brought to the team. For Ecclestone, it is ridiculous to see Steiner enjoy such popularity even though Haas has finished last in the constructors’ standings on two occasions in the last three years.

“There has never been a boss of a team so bankrupt that he has become a superstar anyway thanks to a US series. In my day, when only performance counted, it never happened,“ said Ecclestone.

Not everyone is against Steiner though, with outgoing AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost confessing that handling the pressure associated with F1 can be tricky. He said that Steiner was a likeable personality but at times, teams just need a change to reinvigorate their processes.

Steiner himself claimed that the decision had taken him by shock, having received a call around Christmas confirming Haas’ call to sack him. However, the former Haas team principal said that he was comfortable biding his time till the right opportunity came around.

It has since been revealed that his contractual clause will stop him from signing any deal with a rival and in that sense, it might just be a clever cover-up for Steiner, who treated Haas like ‘his baby’ ever since the team entered the sport in 2016.

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