It’s not a quiet notion that Formula 1 has always taken the world by storm. From the wild outcries in the media scene from controversies, to its complicated yet encapsulating rules that follow each team every season. A recent departure, however, has left the community of Formula 1 with lots of questions, one of which is how will Guenther Steiner’s sudden departure change the HAAS team?
After the 2019 series Drive To Survive aired on Netflix, Steiner created a slight reputation for himself as the episodes feature a harshly frank and explicit laden rant that continued throughout all seasons. While other teams Mercedes and Ferrari refused to take part as it was an ‘unwelcome distraction’, it left the limelight on the flailing HAAS team to take centre stage in what is now seen as more of a drama than a documentary.
The now ex-team leader opened up about his rise to stardom in an interview with TALKsport as he noticed an impact immediately after the show aired saying,
“Then shortly after we flew to Melbourne for the first race of that year and people in the aeroplane – because obviously there was some people travelling to the race – all knew who I was and they all knew me by name.”
It has been debated that the fame Steiner found has been a reason for his sudden departure, the timeline of events is as follows according to a Sky Sports interview with Guenther,
He was told his contract was not being renewed between Christmas and New Year
He had made the case for more investment in infrastructure at the team to mirror their F1 rivals
Although his status as a Drive to Survive star "could have" caused disquiet among some at Haas, it "worked a lot in favour of the team" and the exposure was not something he courted
Gene Haas will have to "live with the consequences" of saying he was "embarrassed" his team have not performed better
"Good things will come" in his future but he is in no rush to take another F1 role
It’s no surprise to the fans of Formula 1 that the HAAS team was not the best when it came to the sport as after the 2018 season they struggled to find the optimal tyre-working window throughout the year. The Australian Grand Prix went well for the team as Magnussen finished sixth, but that would be Haas' best result of the campaign.
In 2019, Grosjean and Magnussen collided on the first lap which subsequently caused both drivers to retire, much to the anger of Steiner. Rich Energy faced multiple legal issues in 2019 and announced the termination of their deal with the Haas F1 team with immediate effect after the Italian Grand Prix.
Haas finished the season in ninth place in the Constructors' Championship with 28 points, the team's worst finish since their founding in 2016.
As the 2020 season began, things still declined for Steiners’ team. A tire gamble in the Hungarian Grand Prix helped Magnussen to gain places up to 10th, however, this would prove to be his best result of all seasons. In Imola, things looked up as Grosjean managed to place ninth scoring Haas their second and only points that season.
These results, however, seem a little care for the team after a terrifying crash occurred where Grosjean experienced an accident heavily hitting barriers at turn 3 of the Bahrain Grand Prix. The car split in half and lit up in a ball of flames yet, somehow he escaped with only a few burns.
Moving on to the 2023 seasons, things did not improve as they finished last in the driver's standings as the car was not competitive enough for points. Haas faced numerous issues due to the tire wear, causing them to lose ground compared to the other teams. Following this, the contract of the team principal (Steiner) was not renewed due to the disappointing performance. Ayao Komatsu will assume his role in this upcoming 2024 season
Continuing with the 2024 season Kevin Magnussen seems to be positive for what is to come as he still believes the car could be competitive. However, even with the new budget cuts and wind tunnel restrictions put in place for the new season of races, the American team may still be lacking the resources to gain points.
Magnussen continues to express a positive outlook ahead of 2024. The 31-year-old explains why a negative approach is unhelpful:
“We have to stick together and make a comeback, like we have done in the past,” he explained after the season finale.
“This team has already shown great potential, and it’s time for us to consistently achieve our goals.
“Because I believe that the talent and potential are very big in this team.”
It is well known that in this new season, Haas will try everything they can to climb back up the championships. Haas buys in what it can from Ferrari, meaning its potential is in some respects linked to the Scuderia but that is similarly no excuse – others have achieved better results with similar models, and last year's Ferrari wasn't a slouch.
Steiner, before his departure, said as much and there was a half-step in that direction with the upgrade introduced in the latter part of 2023. However, it's a concern that it didn't seem to offer the answers the team was hoping for and Nico Hulkenberg reverted to the older-spec design. It was explained at the time that the new car offered nothing in the way of performance gains, but opened development avenues and produced its lap time differently. While that makes sense, to a point, that now needs to translate into clearly identifiable improvements.
The public taking to Reddit asked the question, what does Haas bring to Formula 1? Some responses included,
Haas honestly hasn't been that bad this season and last. Like 2020-21 was terrible, no doubt. But they've been making the odd Q3 appearance, they've gotten a few points. They are improving under the cost cap.
They'll always be at a disadvantage because the bigger teams could spend big ahead of the cost cap but I don't think they're as terrible now as some of the back markers have been in the past. There are always going to be last-place teams, that's just how the sport is. It's not like they're causing as many crashes as the maze pin days or they're a lap down every race. We've had very few lapped cars this season tbh. People forget the days when the leader would lap everyone up to 3rd or 4th place.
Could the new cost caps and principle mean a better season for the Haas team?
Let us know what you think in the comments.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in