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Steiner to make Bahrain F1 paddock return in German TV role

Former Haas boss Guenther Steiner will return to the Formula 1 paddock in Bahrain next week in a TV pundit role two months after being ousted from the US-owned team.

Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team principal

Photo by: Erik Junius

He will attend seven races with German broadcaster RTL, as well as the Australian GP with Channel 10, and is in talks about other potential work that fits his schedule.

His RTL commitment is weighted towards the second half of the season, with Bahrain followed by Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Azerbaijan and Las Vegas.

The 58-year-old had his first taste of TV punditry at last year’s NASCAR event at COTA, where he performed a similar role on a visit to the USA between F1 events.

"I'm just what they call the expert commentator, like in the good old days Niki Lauda did,” Steiner told Autosport.

“It came together very quickly. They texted me last Sunday, asking if I was interested. We talked on Monday, they had a meeting between themselves, and on Tuesday, they asked if I could do it. I said, 'Sure, why not?'.

“It's just they were looking for somebody, and I think they want to rejuvenate a little bit their programme, not always the same people, and just came up with my name, and I spoke with them.

“As I always say, my life is always full of surprises. When people asked me in January ‘What are you going to do now?’ I said, ‘I'm not worried about what I'm going to do. I mean, I don't know what is coming.’ And these things came.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, speaks to the media

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, speaks to the media

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Regarding his one-off Australian TV appearance he said: "It's four or five weeks out. So I don't really know yet what I'm doing there! I think I'm doing something similar.”

Steiner admits that his NASCAR experience with Fox Sports at COTA last March was an eye opener and useful preparation.

"Absolutely,” he said. “At the time I didn't know enough about it, and when people said, let's try to do this, I said ‘Yeah, let's try it.’

“Now I'm really happy that I did that, because at least I know roughly what it involves because when I went to Austin last year, I had no idea how to do TV because I've never done it before. That was a good experience, it was doing something different. I think I can do a decent job.”

Steiner says he has no qualms about voicing critical opinions of drivers and teams if they are justified.

"As long as you stay professional about it, you need to have an opinion, you cannot say everything is good,” he said.

“I'll try to stay factual. I never start with I need to piss somebody off. Actually, I'm the opposite. I don't want to piss anybody else in my life. I do it without trying!

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“I've got an opinion, I achieve it without trying, but I've got an opinion and it's not against that person. I'm not the guy who judges people, I just explain facts. I'm the last one to judge people."

He also insists that he won’t resort to the colourful language that has become a trademark of his appearances in Drive to Survive.

“How many times did I swear in an official interview?,” he said. “How many times did I swear in the FIA press conference? Who did swear there? Perfect Fred [Vasseur], perfect Toto [Wolff]. Not Guenther!"

Steiner says he has other opportunities to work within F1, but he doesn’t want to commit to too much travelling.

"I'm speaking with a few people, and I'm getting now a little bit, hey, I don't want to do 24,” he said. “It's one of these things, you start with something, and all of a sudden, it's growing.

"There's quite a bit going on, but I'm not jumping at everything, and I just evaluate. Because otherwise, if you maybe do one thing, you then cannot do the other thing.

“I wouldn't say I've got a big choice, but I can choose in the moment, which is a nice place to be. A very fortunate place to be.”

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