Steiner didn’t want to give drivers “stupid presents” as parting gifts

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In the round-up: Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner has said he wanted to give his departing drivers presents that wouldn’t end up in their garages.

What they say

[mpuautocourse20b]The Haas F1 team gifted Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen F1 steering wheels to mark their parting of ways, which Steiner said was both intended as a rare, more meaningful gift and was something that Magnussen had asked for in the past:

I wanted to give them as present which is not cheap because they get a lot of presents and they put them somewhere in the garage and leave them there and then in five years’ time, when they’re cleaning the garage, they throw them in the garbage, you know what normally happens with stupid presents.

So I know that when you get a steering wheel, you respect that because they are very difficult to get.

It was just organised at the last minute and with Kevin, it was strange that, I think it was the first race in Bahrain, we just got chatting and he said ‘Guenther, I just would like one thing, you know’ and I said ‘what?’ ‘A steering wheel.’ I knew that I had one, I knew that because he asked me before, he always wanted one.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken


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Comment of the day

With Yuki Tsunoda’s confirmation at AlphaTauri just days after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, John H wonders if it couldn’t have been made official earlier to give Daniil Kvyat a clearer send-off from the team he’s spent most of his career with:

I think they told him shortly before the race weekend, because reading up on this Kvyat mentioned that they wanted Tsunoda to replace him in the post race interviews.

With that in mind, I’m not sure why AlphaTauri couldn’t have announced it before the race to the press and at least have given him a send off.

I’ve listened to Kvyat’s team radio at the end of the race, and there is no mention of a thanks from the team, no send off, nothing. It’s kind of sad and pretty disrespectful in my opinion given his strong end to the season and the points he’s earnt the team.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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38 comments on “Steiner didn’t want to give drivers “stupid presents” as parting gifts”

  1. McLaren must be elated. At first Zak was pretty upset but it has worked out great, hopefully Lando can learn from Ricciardo and take that next step.

    1. @peartree elated about what? Also, Ricciardo seems more cut-throat competitive than Carlos – I doubt he’ll give much away to Lando.

      1. @tflb

        Doubt Ricciardo will have it as easy with Lando as he did with Ocon. Lando is a strong qualifier himself and he’s gradually getting better on racecraft / race pace as well.

        I think it’s a win win for Zak though.. he’s getting a stronger team leader in Ricciardo and a rapidly improving Lando who’ll be keen on keeping Ricciardo on his toes.

        1. @todfod personally I think Sainz is now probably a better driver than Ricciardo – next year will answer a few questions i suppose, looking forward to that. Anyway I don’t think the intra-team dynamic will be the same – Lando is no longer a newcomer, and Ricciardo will want to establish himself quickly.

          1. @tflb

            Hard to say. The only common yardstick to measure Sainz vs Ricciardo by was Hulkenberg. Sainz wasn’t as good as the Hulk by a decent margin. Ricciardo on the other hand was narrowly better than the Hulk on all fronts. I do think Sainz has improved since 2017, but it’s hard to tell whether he’s Ricciardo level good.

          2. @todfod It is indeed hard to say – my feeling is Sainz improved a lot at Mclaren but we’ll have to see how he stacks up against Leclerc, and how Ricciardo fares against Lando. It’s going to be an interesting season.

      2. Yes, that line up will probably be less cameraderie than the team have had for the last 2 years @tflb, @peartree.

        McLaren IS getting a very good driver in Ricciardo. But that part will be at least a bit of a worry. Daniel comes over as very friendly and nice, but he will be coming in to win, not to be matched by Norris.

        That said, Sainz was hugely competative when paired with Verstappen, at the time it was rumoured that the infighting was as much a reason for Marko to push to get Max promoted (breaking up the pairing) as his exceptional talent, showing that Sainz learned. I guess the team will have an influence on how the drivers get along, and it seems McLaren have learned how to be create a supportive environment rather than a toxic one by now.

      3. @tflb Carlos was an okay driver and a source of income for McLaren but Ricciardo is a top driver.
        @bascb Carlos was not competitive at all compared to Max. Q was okay, .2 or so slower than Max but there was a chasm on race pace. I’d suggest Carlos only focused on Q pace. Carlos was trounced by Max, hence why RB never promoted him and then used Carlos as a trading card to break contract with Renault, eventually Renault realised Carlos was avg when Hulk trounced Carlos which then left Carlos available for Mclaren, a team at the time finishing 15th and at the start of Zak’s new role as de facto boss. Zak snapped Carlos for the sponsorship, as Trevor Carlin put it, “Carlos Sainz is a very strong man, in every sense”

        1. @peartree – do not mean competative in that post in the sense of being as fast or achieving as much results as Max (although yes, in Qualifying he certainly seemed to push him) but more about the competative environment within the team where it ended up forming camps and sides of the garage “fighting” against each other.

          I do think that since then Sainz has gotten better – this year he’s showed that he can be quite effective in races, given the results he had this year.

          1. As I recall, the fighting was mostly in the Spanish press filled with stories made up by sainz father on track and off track sainz and Verstappen behaved friendly. But of course on track they fought for every position. The intra team battle was intense from a sporting viewpoint.
            As it should.

      4. Guillermo Bobe
        18th December 2020, 19:22

        Lando will be fine.

  2. “I wanted to give them as present which is not cheap because they get a lot of presents and they put them somewhere in the garage and leave them there and then in five years’ time, when they’re cleaning the garage, they throw them in the garbage, you know what normally happens with stupid presents.”

    I can hear this quote :D

    Nice collection of social media here.

    1. Ha, yeah @treize131, I also read that hearing Gunther say it!

    2. @treize131 it sounds like a politically correct version of Gunther. The original one would’ve thrown a few F bombs here and there.

    3. don’t foksmash my steering wheel!

      1. Mark in Florida
        17th December 2020, 14:08

        I think Gunther is the man! He is a no nonsense boss but these gifts tell that he can show real appreciation for his people. What a great present to take home.

  3. Alpha Tauri and Franz’s tweet for Daniil seems a bit cold at best, ‘thanks for helping us with the setup this year’. Especially compared to McLaren’s for Carlos. I’m not expecting Helmut Marko bringing out a cake with a tear in his eye, but still.

    He must be amongst, if not their longest serving driver.

    1. Love that Tsunoda video, but sounds like they roll out the red carpet as much as they thank their drivers leaving. Maybe they don’t have much of an rewards and recognition budget..!

    2. @bernasaurus he is the longest serving driver of Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri – he has done 72 races for them as Toro Rosso and 17 as Alpha Tauri for a total of 89 races and five seasons (albeit with two seasons only being partial seasons for the team). After that, in terms of races completed, it’s Vergne (58), Sainz Jr (56), Buemi (55) and then Gasly (52 between Toro Rosso and Alpha Tauri).

      1. Guillermo Bobe
        18th December 2020, 19:25

        Gasly won’t be overlooked much longer. Brilliant driver. He is here to saty.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I recall from my time on Kilimanjaro that “Pole Pole” (pronounced “poh-le, poh-le”) means “slowly slowy” in Swahili – the best way to tackle a high mountain but not necessarily a rally.

  5. Somewhat brave to give away an object as valuable as an F1 steering wheel. In general, for any team, I mean.

    In response to COTD: I guess Red Bull wanted the formal announcement to coincide with the post-GP test anyway.

    1. Yeah, you cannot really say anyting on the radio to Kvyat (since that radio would be publicly available) at the end of the race without making that announcement @jerejj

    2. @jerejj F1 steering wheels are certainly expensive, but taking a cynical view would they be keeping those ones for use next year anyway?

      Taking it at face value, it’s a very nice gesture at least. Better than the engine cover McLaren gave to Carlos ;-)

      1. @jimg Teams, of course, have more than a handful of copies of their steering wheel and would keep on using and rotating them from one season to the next, but giving away two won’t put them at a sudden shortage.
        I agree, better than the engine cover from the Russian GP.

      2. Talk about a stupid present that will sit in the garage for 5 years.

        1. Guillermo Bobe
          18th December 2020, 19:27

          If they need my address after that time, I will be more than happy to pay for the UPS delivery. Guys, keep me in mine.

  6. Similar to the COTD, the formula1 youtube channel now has a video of the post race radio messages from all drivers. For those interested pay close attention to Albon’s, to me it doesn’t sound like someone getting a good result when they need it, but someone who knows they’re on their way out of the team. But I’m ready to 100% wrong on this.

  7. Robert Doornbos once got a steering wheel from Christian Horner after his final race for Red Bull. He didn’t realise yet it was his final race. Only after he and DC shared a taxi after the race and DC asked him what he had with him and Robert showed him the steering wheel, he asked DC if he hadn’t gotten one as well (which he did not, of course) did he realise it was a parting gift.

    1. There’s very little chance the bromance between Sainz and Norris can be repeated alongside Ricciardo but it is an exciting prospect to see Ricc in an improving McLaren powered by Merc. Norris has improved a lot and his stand out for me is his defensive driving, there were several races where I’ve been impressed with his agression. I must admit though that a part of me would like to see Sainz and Ricc in the same team, apart from Sainz’ shocking Sochi mistake I have been massively impressed by him over the last 2 seasons.

      1. I think Ricciardo will be tough to beat.

        He’s made victims of all his teammates apart from Verstappen who is the best on the grid imo.

  8. It always amuses me when people think highly of other people who speak before they think, use expletives, are rude etc. Sort of like Trump. I guess there are those that are making F1 “great again”!

    1. Guillermo Bobe
      18th December 2020, 19:30

      If they need my address after that time, I will be more than happy to pay for the UPS delivery. Guys, keep me in mine.

    2. It always amuses me when people think politicians are a worthwhile benchmark of human behaviour. I suppose you believe Nancy Pelosi and the Biden clan are paragons of virtue.

  9. Surely, giving drivers their steering wheels doesn’t make much of dent in the budget.

Comments are closed.