The truth about Günther Steiner is revealed by the absence of some members of the Haas F1 team Press Release

Haas issued a lengthy statement announcing that Guenther Steiner had been replaced as their F1 team principal by Ayao Komatsu, but there was one key thing missing
Gene Haas explained his decision to sack Guenther Steiner – but a statement from the axed team principal was conspicuous by its absence.

The Haas team sent out a press release on Wednesday, announcing the change of leadership. Steiner, who founded the team alongside American businessman Haas, has been ousted after they finished last in the 2023 championship.

Ayao Komatsu has been promoted internally to replace him. The Japanese engineer, a Loughborough University graduate, was one of Steiner’s top lieutenants and will lead a Formula 1 team for the first time.
There were quotes from both Haas and Komatsu in the press release. The former, though, spared just one sentence of 28 words for the man who had led his team for a decade, while the latter did not mention Steiner at all.And there was no quote whatsoever from the departing 58-year-old. Usually, that is indicative of a situation where the departure is not mutually agreed, adding weight to the claims that Steiner was axed by Haas after a difference of opinion over the future of the team.
That will be painful to Steiner – his name is not the one lent to the team’s branding, but he still very much saw the Haas project as his baby. And he had every right to do so, given he conceived of the idea, pitched it to Haas, built it from the ground up and led their on-track efforts from the moment the team officially entered F1 in 2016.

Results in recent years simply have not been good enough. Haas’ quotes in the press release make clear that, publicly at least, poor performance is the biggest driver of this change. “We have had some successes, but we need to be consistent in delivering results that help us reach our wider goals as an organization,” he said.
The team finished dead last in 2023 for the second time in three years and it’s understandable that Haas wants a better return on his investment. But it may be the case that the real final straw for the breakdown in his relationship with Steiner was a disagreement over the future.

The American businessman has resisted opportunities to sell shares in recent years, clearly preferring to keep full control of the team. But those poor results are yet more evidence that privateer teams can only go so far in F1 without significantly more cash being put into the project – something that outside investment would provide.

Haas may be satisfied with the level of investment being put in right now, but Steiner was not. He was far too ambitious to accept it. Rather like the situation at Alpine which saw former team principal Otmar Szafnauer ousted last summer, it seems an argument with the person who holds the pursestrings has led to a significant change in the landscape.

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