Drive to Survive: Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner on Netflix, his future and parody Twitter accounts

Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner insists he will not watch Drive to Survive on Netflix, despite starring. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Guenther Steiner admits he is not an actor, nor does he possess film-star looks, yet he still managed to earn himself a starring role earlier this year in Netflix's behind-the-scenes series on Formula One, 'Drive to Survive'.

That was primarily due to the colourful language of the Haas team principal in commenting on the on-track action involving drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, more often than not after they had been involved in an incident.

Despite the series airing in March, the extrovert Italian has still yet to see a second of it, nor is he likely to watch the new series due to run in three months' time. He sees no need.

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"People don't believe me but I didn't watch it," insisted Steiner in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sport UK. "I'm no good at acting. I don't want to do that, and I don't need to do that in life.

"I'm not avoiding it, and I'm not afraid of watching it, but I don't want to be influenced in my behaviour because of something that is not my career.

"I avoid it because I know it's not going to give me anything. I don't need to see myself because I was there, I know what happened.

"If I watch it, I will want to get something out of it, and if I get the wrong thing out of it then I will think of how not to do things and then I won't be myself any more. Part of me being me is part of who I am.

Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner has been left bemused by a spoof Twitter account. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

"I'm not an actor, I'm not good looking. It's not what I do, and I don't want to be one. Maybe if I watched myself I would then try to be one."

A spin-off of Steiner's 'performances' resulted in a parody Twitter account, @BanterSteiner, that reflects on F1 life in a humorous way and, with a good warning should you follow, is littered with profanity.

There are arguably not many people in F1 who would have allowed such an account to continue once they were aware of its existence, but Steiner is good-natured enough that he sees no harm in it.

"People thought it was me, but I didn't f****** know who it was. I had no idea," said Steiner, resorting to type for a moment, although it was his only f-bomb during the interview.

"Then out of the blue there came an email with him asking me if he could continue. He didn't expect the traction he got.

"I said to him that as long as he didn't offend people. Yeah, he uses the F-word, but nothing against a person. I actually think the guy is pretty good, very creative.

"I told him he has a better sense of humour than me. I read his stuff sometimes. I always get told when he comes up with a good one, and he does come up with some quite good jokes."

Steiner's use of obscenities stems from an unusual source, harking back to his days more than 30 years ago when he started his motorsport career with then Brussels-based Mazda Rally Team Europe as a mechanic.

But the Haas F1 Team Principal admitted he has allowed the account to continue under certain circumstances. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

"I learned English in a pub. I didn't learn it in school," said Steiner. "I didn't speak English when I had my first job in motorsports.

"In our school system at the time, we didn't learn English. I never had one lesson in English.

"When I moved to Belgium in '86 I learned English. There were a bunch of British people, motorsport people, and I went out with them, we went to the pub, and that was the language I learned."

In light of his team's worst season in its four years in F1, finishing ninth in the constructors' championship with 28 points - a sharp decline from last year's stunning fifth place - it is likely the new season of 'Drive to Survive' will contain even more swearing from Steiner.

Haas' plight is so grave, team owner Gene Haas is pondering whether to continue from 2021 onwards when new technical and sporting regulations kick in, with the cars due to appear considerably different than at present.

"It wasn't a good season for anybody at Haas this year," assessed Steiner.

"We started off well. We were very confident, but then we didn't see the signs we were going in the wrong direction development-wise and we didn't do anything until it was too late.

"So we decided to focus on next year's car, on where we went wrong, with the aim of fixing it for next year. The only thing we can do is prove we can do it again."

As for the future beyond next season, Steiner added: "I talked through the proposal with Gene in Austin (at the United States Grand Prix).

"He now has all the information, and we will see what decision he wants to make. I think he still likes F1, even though this season wasn't good for him.

"How much is it worth to him? I don't know yet. There is a business decision to be made, and I don't think he has decided yet."

Steiner admits it was not a good year for his team, who are already looking to next year. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Should Steiner find himself out of F1 at the end of next season, he will at least be able to devote more time to the composites company he set up in 2009, FibreWorks, and in which he has a 50% stake alongside business partner Joe Hofmann.

"The economy at the time in '09 in the United States was very tough," said Steiner, who has now been involved in motorsport for over 30 years. "I still took a gamble, I saw an opportunity and it has worked.

"In my life, I'd always had this desire to have my own company, but I never had the time because the opportunities with other jobs were always too good.

"When I left the (Red Bull) NASCAR team, I decided I wanted to do something I'd always wanted to do, to prove something. It was my last chance because I was in my mid-40s. I took it and it worked out.

"The company now has about 60 people, and technology-wise in composites in the States, we are pretty advanced. It's something I enjoy, it's not just a job. I can't just do a job because I get grumpy pretty quick."

More importantly for Steiner, the position provides him with perspective away from F1.

"Doing something like this gives you balance," added Steiner. "It keeps me sane."

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