Guenther Steiner said on Saturday he was “stung” by not having the chance to say a proper farewell to the Haas Formula One team after being told by phone last month that his contract as principal was not being renewed.
Haas announced the shock departure of the 58-year-old Italian, an accidental cult hero of the Netflix docu-series ‘Drive to Survive’, last Wednesday.
“I didn’t have the chance to say thank you to a few people when I left Haas F1. I would just like to thank all the team members who I couldn’t give a proper goodbye to when I left,” he told an audience at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham.
“It stung, but they all know me and they all know that I appreciate what they did. It’s always best to say it to them, it would be nice to say, ‘Hey guys, thanks for what you did for the team’.”
Speaking for the first time since the announcement of his replacement by Japanese engineer Ayao Komatsu, Steiner said he received the call from team owner Gene Haas between Christmas and the New Year, and indicated he would be in no rush to return to the paddock.
“If there’s something interesting and which challenges me, yes, but just looking for a job just to stay in F1, maybe that’s not what I want,” he said.
Gene Haas said earlier in the week that Steiner’s departure from the team that finished last overall in 2023 all came down to performance.
Steiner indicated however that the team’s outsourced business model, taking as much from engine-partner Ferrari as the rules allow and spending a lot less than rivals, might have had its day.
“Everybody is getting stronger, investing a lot in the future because Formula One I think is on a very good path with where it is going at the moment and that’s what is needed to stay competitive,” he said.
“On the other side, I see where other people are going and the model we started with at the beginning I think was a very good model. But maybe it’s not time-relevant any more.”