Guenther Steiner predicted exit months before Gene Haas pulled plug on team principal’s contract

Former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner received his marching orders from Gene Haas earlier this week in what largely took the F1 community by surprise. What made matters even more perplexing was the fact that Steiner’s comments were missing altogether from the team statement, which only add fuel to the notion that he was shown the exit door after an internal bust-up.

However, much like the Simpsons writers seem to predict events in the future, Steiner also seems to contain some psychic powers, professing the implication of cost cap rules on some of the smaller teams in the sport last year.

Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner. Credit: planetf1.com
Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner. Credit: planetf1.com

It is no secret that Haas operates on one of the smallest budgets among all F1 teams, with owner Gene Haas personally bankrolling a big part of the budget. In light of this, results become imperative for them and that is where Haas has struggled, especially in the last few years.

Haas has finished at the bottom of the standings two times in the last three years and this has been used by Gene Haas as the main reason behind Steiner’s sacking, with the internal promotion of Ayao Komatsu taking place at the team.

What did Steiner say about F1’s cost cap?

While Steiner was referring to McLaren’s transformation in 2023, his views on the cost cap showed his deep understanding of how things could go south for a team such as his own in the future. How much he would have wished this wasn’t the case.

“When you look at, for example, McLaren and where they were at the beginning of the 2023 season – nowhere – and where they ended up being the challenger to Red Bull is quite amazing what is doable,” Steiner said.

“I’m not saying that they’re going to do the same thing, but it just to put that in perspective, a lot is possible with the cost cap.

“You need to do a good job. It’s not all about money anymore. Look at AlphaTauri in the last five, six races, they came up strong and caught up very quickly and ended up in P8.

“I don’t want to see always the negative [with the cost cap], I want to see the positive, we have to use it and just go do a good job and that is what we will try to do.

“If I were to look at the negatives, it could be a pretty dark place for us.”

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