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Editor’s Desk: Drive to Survive will never be the same

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The folks over at Netflix in charge Drive to Survive will be the most concerned about the news of Guenther Steiner’s departure from Haas.

Steiner became the star of the Netflix docuseries that showcased the inner dealings of Formula 1 with his polarizing character, colorful language.

And while he will definitely feature in the sixth edition that should debut soon, he won’t be around for any future ones, that is if there will be any, as Netflix has only greenlighted up to season six back in May, 2022, with no updates whether there would be a seventh or more.

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As soon as Steiner was announced to be leaving Haas, social media was overflowing with memes referring to his star status in Drive to Survive and how the producers of the F1 docuseries will be panicking now that the main attraction of their show is gone.

Funny as that may be, and joking aside, the fact that Steiner’s departure is directly linked with Drive to Survive shows that something is wrong, and maybe give us a hint of why he was sacked.

While Haas are a team languishing in the back end of F1, the news that Steiner left is huge. Keep in mind that he said the idea of starting the American team was his, and since he didn’t have the money he pitched the idea to Gene Haas who obliged.

He lead the team since its inception and has to be given credit for keeping it alive in quite adverse conditions, which made many think Steiner and Haas’ fates are inseparable.

But results on track have been underwhelming to say the least, and with Haas brining in the money, he had the final say.

Now we are not privy of the details of how the separation happened, but Haas said he was frustrated with the lack of results, and pointing out at Steiner’s way of management and character, and the fact that Steiner was seen by the masses as a Drive to Survive star, more so than a team boss, give some logic what went down.

Haas hints in his aforementioned interview with Formula 1’s Official Website that he does not see Steiner as a serious manager, and that is why he chose Ayao Komatsu, the “engineer”, as his replacement, not to mention the Japanese’s knowledge of the team.

Personally, I do not believe Steiner was a decent team boss, and the results speak for themselves, not to mention his questionable management of Mick Schumacher, ruining his F1 career before it even took off.

What now for Haas?

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Along with the Steiner news, there were reports that Haas’ Technical Director, Simone Resta, also left the outfit, needless to say, he was the person behind the team’s design philosophy.

Resta was a former Ferrari man and was on loan to Haas who have forged a close partnership with the Scuderia sourcing as many components from Maranello within the rules in addition to the power unit.

In the previous Drive to Survive, Steiner and former Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto were portrayed as good friends who confide in each other.

With Binotto out of Ferrari for a year now, and Resta leaving along with Steiner, is that a sign of more changes for Haas?

Gene Haas downplayed such speculations in his interview with F1.com, he said: “Ferrari has been very good to us.

“They have been with us since day one, they build incredible engines. Their suspension is extremely good. We have been using a lot of their hardware. It works really well. They really do help us.

“I’m embarrassed that we haven’t been able to do better with it but going forward, I want to take advantage of good equipment that a lot of other teams don’t have.

“We’re very happy to stay with Ferrari,” he went on. “I hope we can help them in terms of reliability. Going forward, when Sauber drops Ferrari power, we will be Ferrari’s only user. They might want to pick up a customer or two.

“Maybe they’ll be happy with us. But we have got to do better. We can’t be running so far behind Ferrari. We need to be closer to them,” the American concluded.

It makes sense for him to say this now, especially with new power unit regulations coming in 2026, but then, what’s to stop them from making a switch. It will be interesting to see how the situation at Haas develops.

To conclude, and going back to Drive to Survive, the show producers will be gutted to have missed out on the final meeting between Gene and Guenther in which the divorce happened.

That would’ve been an explosive episode probably ending with Steiner saying: “Fock it, I am out of here!”, and banging the door as he left.

But love him or hate him, Drive to Survive will never be the same without “Focking” Guenther Steiner!