Formula 1: Drive To Survive – Episode 7, Guenther’s Choice

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13th March 2021

Guenther’s Choice

Guenther Steiner, perhaps the funniest team principal of them all. A man not afraid of saying how things are, calling a spade a spade and not hiding away from the fact that, sometimes, things are a bit sh*t.

This focus on Haas, and in particular Steiner and his boss Gene Haas, sees the team not going as well as they would like, or have been in the past.

Part of the reason is that they have Ferrari engines in their cars and if Ferrari aren’t doing so well, you can only imagine how hard it must be for those using their parts.

Haas, alongside Alfa, are one the smallest teams on the grid too, privately owned and so not exactly flush with cash, comparatively speaking.

At Silverstone we hear that everyone admires Haas, they have a low staff turnover and their drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, have been a part of the family almost from the start as well.

We see Steiner on the wall as the race plays out, Magnussen continues his form at Silverstone by crashing out without completing a lap, whilst Grosjean tries something different, going long on his tyres which looks good, but when they go off he’s a sitting duck.

Steiner’s mobile is constantly ringing with calls from Gene questioning, probing and wanting to know how he’s going to turn things around.

Steiner needs more money, he needs sponsors, and he goes to meet some potential new ones in Germany. It goes well, but, as Steiner points out, these days sponsors don’t just want to simply provide money, they want a say in things, and this particular sponsor wants a German driver in the team.

Enter stage left, Mick Schumacher, Formula 2 champion and son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.

Mick wants to be in F1 and Haas are looking for a German driver, but Alfa are also sniffing around as they realise the potential of having a Schumacher in the team too.

Steiner is torn, on the one hand he needs money, he needs sponsors and they want a German driver. On the other, Haas are a family and he’s loath to remove Romain or Kevin.

The drivers believe it’s one or the other going, so their Silverstone performance means it looks like Kevin. But they are shocked to learn that both of them are out of the team, with Schumacher in alongside, already controversial choice, Nikita Mazepin, who happens to come from a very rich family.

Kevin is upset as he believes he now won’t get a shot at being world champion. Romain on the other hand is a lot more pragmatic about the whole thing, “I understand [the decision]”, is his response, with a smile on his face.

Steiner is aware of the prospect of running a team with two rookies in the cars but, as he points out, just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be.

Guenther Steiner, perhaps the funniest team principal of them all. A man not afraid of saying how things are

19th March 2021

James Routh, Nick Hardie

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