The Italian, who had become a popular figure in F1 throughout his near-decade at Haas having built the team up from scratch, felt that the team needed investment – while Haas wished to maintain the current level of spending but promote efficiency.
ANALYSIS: Why Steiner’s departure is a big loss for Haas F1
This led to the instalment of trackside engineering director Ayao Komatsu as Haas’ new team principal for 2024 and beyond.
Speaking at Autosport International 2024 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, Steiner confirmed that he was given the news by Haas between Christmas and New Year, and his abrupt departure meant that he was not given a proper send-off by the team.
“Can I start with just something off for my side?” Steiner interjected while speaking to Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft on the main stage on Saturday morning.
“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.
“So I’ll do it this way. And I want to say also to all the fans who supported us while I was there, it’s fantastic – thank you to everybody for the support I got and I am getting, so I’m mega appreciative.
Photo by: Motorsport Images
Guenther Steiner at Autosport International 2024
“Yeah, it stung [not to be able to say goodbye] 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.’
Steiner added that Haas called him with the news that his contract was not going to be extended, which he admitted surprised him but was happy to concede that Gene Haas’ was at liberty to run the team how he wished.
He added that he “cannot answer” if the conditions at Haas will allow Komatsu to make his time in charge of the team a success, and was coy about his own future in F1.
Explaining that he was “not in a hurry” to make a decision, Steiner revealed that he did not wish to stay in F1 purely for the sake of it.
“If Formula One wants me, I don’t know!” Steiner added.
“In our situation, I, I’m not in a hurry, you know. There are always people who will see me around in Formula One; I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends.
“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.”