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Guenther Steiner leaves position as Haas team principal

Guenther Steiner of Haas F1 in a press conference.

Formula 1 receives its first shock of 2024 as Guenther Steiner departs from his role as Haas Team Principal.

The Italian, who has led the team since its inception in 2014, has left the American outfit. This news comes just hours after the resignation of the team’s Technical Director, Simone Resta, was officially announced.

Ayao Komatsu, formerly the team’s Director of Engineering, has been appointed Steiner’s successor.

In a statement, Team Owner Gene Haas said:

“I’d like to start by extending my thanks to Guenther Steiner for all his hard work over the past decade and I wish him well for the future.

“Moving forward as an organization it was clear we need to improve our on-track performances. In appointing Ayao Komatsu as Team Principal we fundamentally have engineering at the heart of our management.”

The team has struggled for results in recent years, which can broadly linked to a fundamental lack of resources. The trials and tribulations at Haas have often been a focal point in Netflix’s Drive To Survive series.

Steiner’s unique and unfiltered personality has given him a tremendous following amongst many F1 fans.

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Ayao Komatsu has spoken about this new opportunity:

“I’m naturally very excited to have the opportunity to be Team Principal at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team,” stated the newly appointed team principal.

“Having been with the team since its track-debut back in 2016 I’m obviously passionately invested in its success in Formula 1. I’m looking forward to leading our program and the various competitive operations internally to ensure we can build a structure that produces improved on-track performances”

Since its debut in 2016, the team has yet to score a podium finish. Still utilising a long-term technical partnership with Ferrari, Haas enters 2024 with an unchanged driver line-up of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg.

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From rally to F1: the Steiner story

Steiner initially made his name in the world of rallying. Starting as a mechanic with Mazda in the 1980s, he managed Prodrive’s European Rally Championship outfit before becoming a director of engineering with Ford. There, he worked alongside legendary drivers Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz (father of Ferrari driver Carlos Jnr).

He moved into Formula 1 in 2001, becoming managing director of Ford-owned Jaguar Racing under the leadership of Niki Lauda. After a brief stint out of Formula 1 with Opel, he returned with Red Bull Racing in 2005, jointly leading the team with Christian Horner before becoming its technical operations director until 2008.

After founding a manufacturing company in America, Steiner convinced Gene Haas to create his own Formula 1 team, becoming its Team Principal. It’s reputed that Steiner personally interviews every single applicant for any job within the Haas outfit, running the majority of its operations in Europe, although residing in North Carolina.


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