Steiner knew last summer he wanted to axe Grosjean and Magnussen
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has revealed he knew last summer he wanted to change his driver line-up.
Steiner played his cards close to his chest throughout last season's coronavirus-hit campaign when it came to his drivers, and it was not until late October that the team confirmed Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were being released.
It brought to an end a four-season partnership after Magnussen started a year after Grosjean had joined Haas from its debut in 2016.
It was then not until early December that Haas announced an all-rookie pairing of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin for this year.
While the process appeared to take some time, and Steiner stonewalled the media on numerous occasions, the reality was very different.
"It was sometime in the summer," said Steiner when asked by GPFans Global as to when he realised he wanted to change his drivers.
"I spoke with Gene [Haas, owner] about how we wanted to do things for the future.
"We waited for the Concorde Agreement to be signed and how to best prepare for the new regulations.
"I don't know the exact date but it was not long before we told our drivers that we were going to change because I wanted to give them the greatest opportunity to move on to something else.
"But we had decided before then. It was not one of those things where we sat down once and decided 'This is what we are going to do'.
"It was a development with lots of decisions coming slowly in the sport. So I would say sometime in late summer it was decided."
For Steiner and Haas, this winter break has led to what the Italian has described as a "regroup".
Although the coming campaign promises to be difficult given the decision not to develop the car in favour of focusing on the '22 regulations, Steiner is at least hoping there will be a fresh approach to this year.
Taking stock, Steiner is using the time to "sort out all the things we pushed out because of all the intensity of the season, the intensity of what happened to us, to reset and then sort all those things out for this year but in an organised way".
He added: "It's not just doing it when you have nothing else to do - which is very rare anyway at the moment.
"It is just like a bit of a schedule where I can work diligently and focused on the future of the team."
Huh. That was around the same time I came to the same conclusion.
Not too cool. Did not give K-mag or Grosjean any time to look elsewhere.
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