After his rally days, Guenther Steiner became the managing director of Jaguar Racing and technical operations director of its subsequent incarnation, Red Bull Racing. And when Gene Haas began exploring the logistics of creating a Formula 1 team, he picked Guenther to lead the effort. The current Team Principal of the Rich Energy Haas F1 Team talks to the Paddock magazine about their evolution, new sponsors, and what he would change to make the sport more popular in the United States.
With all of your experience in motorsports, how do you personally see Formula 1 today?
I believe Formula 1 is in a good place today, definitely in a better place than it has been for a long time. The sport is engaging on all social channels with the fans, and that’s a great thing. And, thankfully, it looks like it’s working.
Is your work as Team Principal changing over the years? If so, how?
Sure, everything changes. In the old days, the Team Principal was more like a team manager, whereas now this role means more politics and a lot more work that is commercial. I personally love to keep up to date with the technical staff, but the sport is constantly evolving in all of its fields.
What is the vibe inside Haas this year? Is it different from last year?
We always keep a good vibe going, because we’re still a new team. There’s always great potential to improve, and we keep on making the changes every year to get better and better. I hope we can keep this vibe going in the future as well.
More events in the USA would certainly help too, but an American world champion would basically drive everything forward.
Are you feeling more support from American fans, brands or partners as Formula 1 is in its third year of Liberty’s era?
I think so, yes. America is one of Formula 1’s growing markets at the time. It’s not all because of Liberty, however the company certainly had a big impact on the sport in terms of social media. American fans are now getting more and more information about Formula 1, they see that the sport is out there.
In your opinion, what is still missing in making Formula 1 more popular in the states? What would you change?
The answer to that is very simple – America needs a successful driver. That’s it. More events in the USA would certainly help too, but an American world champion would basically drive everything forward.
It’s not all because of Liberty, however the company certainly had a big impact on the sport in terms of social media.
What’s it like to have Rich Energy as a new title sponsor? How has the relationship been so far?
The relationship has been superb so far. Rich Energy is a company with a start-up mentality, a bit like we are in Formula 1. We still need to learn a lot in this sport, however having Rich Energy on board has really been a huge boost.
In the beginning, we didn’t have such sponsors, because we were building the team from scratch. Now, we can offer the brands things they’re looking for in Formula 1. It’s a pretty straightforward growing and learning process for us, and today we already can help the sponsors, and they can help us.
Do you already see things that you would like to change within the team for 2020?
We won’t have a revolution, we’re focused on evolution. We’re working hard on making the most with what we have at the moment, and we’ll continue to do that in 2020.