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Steiner: 'I stayed at Haas F1 team too long'

Former team boss Guenther Steiner has conceded he "stayed at Haas too long" as he reflected on his departure from the Formula 1 team in January.

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Following a catastrophic 2023 season, which saw Haas finish bottom of the constructors' table, the team's American owner Gene Haas ran out of patience with the lack of progress and decided not to renew Steiner's contract.
In his stead, Haas promoted former trackside engineering director Ayao Komatsu to the role as team principal, with Steiner returning to the paddock in the season opener in Bahrain as a TV pundit.
Writing his first column for F1.com, Steiner says that after having more time to reflect in the past winter he now recognises he should have left Haas sooner.
"Life has been good since I left Haas ahead of this season," he wrote.
"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."
Steiner explained the grind to fight for minor points position, without being in contention for podiums, was starting to drain his enthusiasm.
Günther Steiner

Günther Steiner

Photo by: Andreas Beil

Haas burst onto the scene in 2016 with sixth for Romain Grosjean in Australia and fifth in Bahrain in its first two grands prix, but in subsequent years it never managed to finish higher than a solitary fourth place for the Frenchman in the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.
"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," he added.
"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.
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"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."
Steiner didn't rule out returning to an active role in the future if the circumstances are right, stating: "I would come back to F1 in the future, but it needs to be the right project, done right."

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