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Haas suing former boss Guenther Steiner after he lodged court complaint against team

The Haas Automation company are suing former team principal Guenther Steiner over breaches of trademark rules with his book, ‘Surviving to Drive’. The 59-year-old was dismissed by Gene Haas over the winter following an eight-year stay with the North Carolina-based outfit.

Ahead of his dismissal, Steiner released an autobiography titled ‘Surviving to Drive: A year inside Formula 1’. The book, which was conceived as a result of his booming popularity off the back of Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ docuseries, was a smash hit with F1 fans. Unfortunately, it has now landed him in legal trouble with his former team.

Court papers lodged in the Central District of California, Western Division, read: “Haas Automation never consented to Steiner’s use of the Haas Automation Trademarks or the Haas Automation Trade Dress on the Accused Product.

“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 decision to sue Steiner comes off the back of a messy break-up with the Haas team. The Italian team principal was the first party to launch legal proceedings, filing a complaint in North Carolina over alleged unpaid commissions.

“Haas F1 chose not to renew Mr. Steiner’s Employment Agreement,” the Court papers stated. “This was its right. But Haas F1 has done what it has no right to do and refused to pay Mr. Steiner [amount redacted] owed under his Employment Agreement.”

“But 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.”

While Steiner has been unable to land another team principal role following his departure from Haas, he has been a regular feature on broadcasts for the German F1 rightsholders, RTL. The veteran team boss has also featured sporadically for Sky Sports.

Haas, meanwhile, have taken a strong leap forward in terms of performance under Ayao Komatsu, who stepped up from a technical role to replace Steiner in an internal hire. The perennial backmarkers have already picked up seven points from the opening six races, scoring on four separate occasions.


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