Guenther Steiner

Haas F1 Team and Guenther Steiner exchanging lawsuits

Guenther Steiner

The Haas/Guenther Steiner divorce has so far been acrimonious as both parties are locked in a bitter legal battle, both exchanges lawsuits.

Ahead of the 2024 Formula 1 season, January 2024 in particular, Haas F1 Team announced that Steiner will not longer be their Team Principal and replaced him from within by Ayao Komatsu.

Fast forward a few months, and matter turned ugly as Steiner had reportedly filed a lawsuit against his former team due to contract breach related to unpaid commissions from 2021 to 2023.

It was also reported that Steiner – in the lawsuit that has been filed in North Carolina in the final week of April, 2024 – claimes he is owed royalties by Haas who continued to use his image “in its promotional materials and merchandise”.

In the lawsuit documents, Steiner’s attorneys stated: “After years of accepting the benefits of Mr. Steiner’s reputation, experience, and deep connections within the sport, Haas F1 cannot withhold from Mr. Steiner the benefits he has earned.”

Steiner has become an overnight sensation following his appearance in the Netflix docu-series Drive to Survive, and his legal team claims Haas F1 Team are still benefitting from his popularity

Based on that they added in the lawsuit: “This exposure was extremely valuable to the upstart racing team, particularly as it looked for additional revenue streams to support itself in the notoriously expensive Formula 1 environment.”

Haas fire back

It now seems that Haas have hit back at Steiner, filing a lawsuit of their own with couth papers  lodged in the Central District of California, Western Division, according to a new report in Motorsport.com.

The reason behind the American F1 team’s legal action is Steiner’s autobiography “Survive to Drive” for alleged trademark infringements.

Haas’ lawsuit documents state: “In 2023, without permission or consent from Haas Automation, Steiner authored, marketed, promoted, sold, distributed, and profited from a publication titled “Surviving to Drive” (the “Accused Product”), which unlawfully used and displayed, and continues to use and display, the Haas Automation Trademarks and the Haas Automation Trade Dress for Steiner’s personal financial gain and illicit profit.

“Haas Automation never consented to Steiner’s use of the Haas Automation Trademarks or the Haas Automation Trade Dress on the Accused Product,” the documents claimed.

Haas insist they have not received a proper response from Steiner, adding in their legal papers: “Haas Automation gave pre-lawsuit notice to Steiner but to date Steiner has taken no action to cease or mitigate his infringing acts, necessitating the instant lawsuit.

“Steiner sells and promotes the Accused Product in various mediums, including without limitation print and digital, in violation of Haas Automation’s exclusive intellectual property rights.

“Information available online indicates that as of January 2024, the Accused Product has exceeded sales of at least 150,000 units and generated revenue of at least $4,500,000,” the Haas documents stated.

Steiner has been the Team Principal of Haas F1 Team since its inception back in 2016, the Italian claiming the team was his brainchild with owner Gene Haas bringing in the money.

Gene Haas insisted he needed to change the leadership of his F1 team after being fed up of finishing last. The team is currently seventh in the 2024 F1 Constructors’ Championship. They finished dead last in 2023.