‘I stayed at Haas too long,’ Steiner admits

Guenther Steiner believes he “stayed at Haas too long” before his departure this winter, with the team unable to fight at the front in Formula 1.

The former Haas team principal held the position since it entered F1 in 2016 until he was replaced by Ayao Komatsu ahead of this season. Steiner was present at the Bahrain Grand Prix working as a media pundit for German television and is also writing a column for the official F1 website, where he admits he had lost sight of the targets he wanted to aim for.

“Life has been good since I left Haas ahead of this season,” Steiner said. “These last few weeks are the first time I’ve switched off from F1 for around a decade. This time has been good for me. The longer time goes on, the more I can see that I stayed at Haas too long.


“When you step away, you get clarity and you can see what you need to do. While you’re there, you’re in denial — you think you can do it but you cannot.

“When I was there, with what we had, you could still fight for being seventh, eighth or ninth but you couldn’t fight for podiums without the same weapons as the other guys. Doing that in the long term is not what I want to do in life. I don’t want to be seventh again. I’ve done that. I want to be able to fight, to battle at the front.”

Steiner points to the development of Mercedes as an example of how a team with the right resources became a dominant force, saying he’s only interested in a return to the F1 grid if it offers more potential for progression.

“When Toto Wolff started with Mercedes, the team at the time was not at the top. Yes, they had the advantage of the engine at the beginning, but he set everything up right to be successful in the mid-term — and they won eight constructors’ championships. It’s the same thing with Red Bull. How long did it take for them to get there? Every year, they kept on getting better. You need that patience and long-term planning.

“I would come back to F1 in the future, but it needs to be the right project, done right.”

Story originally appeared on Racer