Guenther Steiner, the team principal of Haas, has acknowledged that his personal profile and popularity have soared since his fiery and often foul-mouthed antics were showcased in the Netflix series Drive to Survive.
The increased attention has led to the publication of his book in multiple languages, but Steiner also recognized the dark side of his newfound fame, particularly due to his involvement in Mick Schumacher’s struggles.
While speaking to Marca sports newspaper, Steiner commented on his rising popularity, stating” “Look, it’s not bad – it’s good for Formula 1, it’s good for Haas, it’s good for me from time to time, so you have to deal with it and respect the fans because without fans we wouldn’t exist.
“We need to be seen because we have to make money, and it costs a lot. But I didn’t wake up one morning and say, ‘I want to be popular.'”
However, Steiner acknowledges the negative perception that comes with his image.
Even former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone recently criticised Steiner, describing him as an “unsuccessful team boss” who gained popularity in the paddock due to his rude comments.
In response, Steiner expressed his indifference, adding: “I don’t like it or dislike it. I don’t really care.
“I’m very passionate, but I’m not a bad guy. I tell people what I want, and I have to do it if I want to get anything because it’s not an easy fight out there.”
Steiner also supported the changes brought about by Liberty Media, the owners of Formula 1, in their efforts to ‘Americanize’ the sport and expand into new markets, even if it comes at the expense of F1’s traditional base.
He believes that, without these changes, Formula 1 would have started to decline, as it had become stagnant and repetitive.
Steiner asserted that Liberty Media recognized the potential and the need for a fresh approach when they acquired the sport.
“If this had not been done, I think F1 would have started to fall,” Steiner insisted.
“Because it was very static, and if the rest are moving, then you start to go backwards.
“Liberty knew the potential and what they wanted to do; otherwise, they wouldn’t have bought a show that had been stagnant since 2000 and was repeating itself over and over again.”