When the cameras first rolled on Drive to Survive, Netflix could hardly have envisioned Guenther Steiner becoming one of its greatest actors.
But, as the Italian-American team Haas stuttered in last place last season, Steiner’s star could not have shone brighter.
His swearing time on camera means his 13-year-old daughter isn’t allowed to watch Formula 1 docuseries, but his emotional outspokenness has earned him the kind of global audience that sees him arrested for photos and autographs as much as anyone else. conductor on the grid.
A rival team boss even collected memes made of him on social media to keep him regularly updated. But those are the only elements of Drive to Survive he’s ever glimpsed.
He has no intention of watching it until his F1 days are over, his thought being that if he does, it will make him change his approach to the camera. “And I don’t want to do that because it’s me and I’m not doing anything different than what I was doing before,” he said. standard sports. “I’m just doing my job and if people are interested, that’s fantastic.
“I don’t mind, I don’t make any effort to be different. This is who I am, this is what I was before and what I will always be.
The outside attention took some getting used to – not typical for an F1 boss – but his thoughts are “if people are happy to see me why not spend a few seconds of my time with them”.
His approach put Haas in the spotlight that, as latecomers in recent years, they would not have enjoyed without Steiner.
Of his status as a Drive to Survive star, he says, “It doesn’t hurt the team. I think the interest in the team and my character helps to talk to sponsors because they are interested in talking to you.
Series five looks likely to heavily feature Steiner and Haas once again. Their preparation for the season was interrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This meant parting ways with main sponsor Uralkali, as well as eliminating Russian rider Nikita Mazepin and finding a last-minute replacement.
Kevin Magnussen, who had been let go by the team for 2021, was called up by Steiner, finished fifth in his opening race in Bahrain and scored points in all but one race this season.
Steiner laughs adding, “2021 never happened for Haas, there was nothing there! No kidding, one of the reasons we picked Kevin is because everyone knows him. We don’t need to build from scratch.
He is confident that the team is now in a solid financial position. As the only American team on the grid, they are bolstered by a second race on the schedule at Miami this weekend and Las Vegas to come in 2023.
More potential sponsors are swirling around than ever, unlike the final moments of pre-season. “I don’t want to sound like a badass because it stresses you out, but you have to deal with it,” he says. “All that hard work and controversy, it’s not nice to deal with because it’s something I have no influence over. So to get results, you realize that’s why you do it.
“You also do this job for the challenges. Some of those challenges that you don’t want to have, but you’re like, “Hey, that’s not going to knock me down.” The bigger the challenge, the more I focus.
One of the challenges is to solve the riddle of Mick Schumacher scoring his first F1 points, which Steiner says could happen on Sunday. And the bigger goal is podium finishes and eventually race wins.
Whatever the outcome, Steiner is sure to entertain. If F1 didn’t work out, I suggest a career in wider TV shows. “I can be a clown, right? comes the answer.