Guenther Steiner says there were talks with Andretti but not as concrete, as he adds that they maybe missed having more American sponsors, while Valtteri Bottas did not know of takeover deal at the time of signing.
Haas is all set for their home GP in Austin with their rookie drivers experiencing it for the first time. However, that’s not all that is being talked about right now as Michael Andretti and his soon-come entrance to F1 is a major topic.
Speculation in Andretti’s take-over of Sauber, Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen, and how close the deal is to done has directed a lot of questions to Haas team principal Steiner. With them being the only American F1 team it was assumed that the most logical move for Andretti would be to talk with them, but the Italian shut that down by saying that talks haven’t been concrete or serious as opposed to the way people were saying they were.
“I don’t know what Michael is doing to be honest,” said Steiner to media including FormulaRapida.net. “I spoke with Michael a few times, not lately, honestly, I don’t know what Michael is trying to do. Everybody knows each other in American racing, maybe there were talks but maybe not as concrete as you think they are.”
With Haas not selling to Andretti, the talk has shifted to whether the former McLaren driver’s ‘American’ would pose a threat by joining the grid in terms of sponsor catch. Steiner was quick to shut this down as well by saying that no one is a threat even a rival team from the same country. The only slight error with Haas in a business sense, he said, was that they didn’t exploit the American market as well as they should’ve even while being the only American team.
“I don’t see anybody as a threat, we have no issue with that one wherever the team is from,” said Steiner. “But I think what we didn’t do, we didn’t exploit the American market, the sponsorship market as much as we should have, because otherwise we would have more American logos on the car. Everything needs to be American all of a sudden, and everything sounds to be focused on America, but I think there are other countries as well.
“And for sure because Austin is now on, there’s a lot of focus on it. But there hasn’t come anybody knocking on our door with a big sponsorship and saying because we are American, this is what we are going to do, or this is why we are going to support an American driver. There is no magic in this game. And whatever happens, there will be not a lot of change. So there is a lot of talk at the moment, but we need to work now,” summed up Steiner.
Though it seems that Andretti’s negotiations with Sauber are coming to allegedly close agreement prospects, 2022 driver Valtteri Bottas has been unaware of what’s been happening. When asked about Andretti and the situation with Alfa Romeo, the Finn expressed his ultimate want for the team is to do well.
“I wasn’t aware during the negotiations about it,” said Bottas. “To be honest, I don’t know many details, if there is actually a big chance for that happening or not. But I’m sure the people who will make the decision will know what is going to be the best for the team in the long term. I don’t think I have much say in who owns the teams and with what percentage. That is how it goes. That is the business side of Formula 1.
“But as long as the team still has the right people, the key people in there that I believe can do a great job, that is the main thing for me. Obviously, as a driver for the team in the future, it is nice to know a bit more about the plans for the future, but why not? For sure it’s a big name, it’s a great name, but I don’t know more than this. We’ll see what will happen but it’s not in my hands,” summed up Bottas.
The story was written by Selena Aburas
Here’s Guenther Steiner on Haas execution
Here’s Valtteri Bottas on no change with Mercedes