Guenther Steiner has confirmed he informed Nikita Mazepin he was being ousted from the Haas team in writing, rather than verbally.
The Italian said he had not heard back from the driver, only being aware of Mazepin’s reaction via the 23-year-old’s statements to the media.
The parting of the ways occurred due to events occurring in eastern Europe, with Haas also deciding to sever their association with the team’s title sponsor which belongs to Mazepin’s father.
That left Haas seeking a new team-mate for Mick Schumacher just a few days before official pre-season testing in Bahrain, with Kevin Magnussen brought back into the fold for the 2022 F1 campaign having been released at the end of 2020.
K-MAGic ✨#HaasF1 #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/pnypZxpPN9
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 11, 2022
Mazepin said he had only learned of his sacking “at the same time as the team’s press release” and that he felt he had “deserved more support” from Haas.
During an interview with RTL, Haas team principal Steiner admitted he was “always sorry when you have to do something like that”.
But when asked whether he sees Mazepin as a victim or feels sympathy for him, he revealed it was “difficult to say”.
“The external circumstances, which neither I nor he can change, are just the way they are. You have to live with it and move on. I see it as part of life,” said Steiner.
The 56-year-old South Tyrolean, asked to confirm how the news had been broken to Mazepin, confirmed: “I only did it in writing. I didn’t talk to him.”
In regard to the decision, which was made in conjunction with team owner Gene Haas, Steiner added: “You have to draw the conclusions.
“The last two or three weeks have been quite exhausting and tedious. [But] the worst should be over. It can only go up. We are always good for a surprise when there is drama!”
The last of the matter has not necessarily been heard, however, as the former title sponsor are demanding money back from Haas having branded the decision “unreasonable”.
“It’s a very complex matter, even for legal experts,” added Steiner, who admitted the team will “certainly lose some money” but not enough to threaten their existence in the sport.
“The team is financially stable. You don’t have to worry about the team. That’s the most important thing for me.”
Talks are reportedly under way with several interested parties to take over as a new sponsor.
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