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Steiner takes Haas F1 team to court

Guenther Steiner has launched court action against his former Haas Formula 1 team over monies he says he is owed, as well as it using his likeness for promotional material.

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

In court papers that have been lodged in Mecklenburg, North Carolina, Steiner has claimed that his former Haas team has not paid him for commissions that he was owed over several years, which was in violation of an employment agreement he had.

Furthermore, he claims that the outfit, which he left at the end of last year after his contract was not renewed, continues to sell merchandise that features his name and image, as well as use him on its official website. He says this is being done without his authorisation, and furthermore he is not being paid royalties that he says he is due.

In the court documents, which have had many details redacted, Steiner lays out his case that he should have been paid for commissions that were due to him in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and fell under the period covered by his most recent employment contract.

The court papers state: “Haas F1 chose not to renew Mr. Steiner's Employment Agreement. This was its right. But Haas F1 has done what it has no right to do and refused to pay Mr. Steiner [amount redacted] owed under his Employment Agreement.”

It added: “But after years of accepting the benefits of Mr. Steiner's reputation, experience, and deep connections within the sport, Haas F1 cannot withhold from Mr. Steiner the benefits he has earned.”

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The court documents have not revealed the specifics of the commissions that Steiner says he is owed, but they could be linked to sponsor deals that he brought to the team.

Furthermore, Steiner believes Haas has not acted correctly in continuing to use his image and brand.

The court document states that Haas benefitted hugely from Steiner’s presence in the Netflix: Drive to Survive series, where he became one of its most popular figures.

“Haas F1 was frequently featured in the series, and Mr. Steiner's presence in the show drove more and more fans to Haas F1,” it said.

“This exposure was extremely valuable to the upstart racing team, particularly as it looked for additional revenue streams to support itself in the notoriously expensive Formula 1 environment.”

Steiner claims that Haas has continued to make profit off his brand and image, something he says it is not allowed to do because his employment contract had been terminated.

The court documents added: “Haas F1 has no right to use Mr. Steiner's name, image, and likeness or to exploit them in any form of media after the termination of his employment.

“Haas F1 has not compensated Mr. Steiner for its unauthorized use of his name, image, and likeness.”

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