Gene Haas is one unhappy man. Episode 7 of season 3 of the Netflix hit series "Formula 1: Drive to Survive" focuses on the financial struggles of the Haas Formula One Team, and the tough decisions that they had to make in order to stay on the grid.
Team Principal Guenther Steiner spent a lot of time trying to pacify team owner Gene Haas in 2020. The team's mediocre performances has led to a lack of confidence from the owner, and a massive difficulty in securing sponsors. Steiner had to seek out sponsors himself, and was given an opportunity to secure some funding if he signs a German driver.
Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen had been with the team for 5 and 4 years respectively, but the team has been on a steady decline since 2018. While there is a lot of love and respect for the drivers, Steiner had to make the tough call to let both of them go. Not only did he sign Mick Schumacher, he also signed Nikita Mazepin, whose Oligarch father brings in a tremendous amount of funding.
Mick was initially linked with Alfa Romeo, but Steiner swooped in to secure his signature before anyone else can take advantage of the "cash cow" that he is, apart from being a talented driver of course.
The episode gives a solid look into the fact that F1 teams are businesses first and foremost. Everyone has a passion for racing, but results and big names bring funding. Without those, it would be impossible to survive.
Haas has been facing a lot of criticism over the signing of Mazepin, which was hardly touched in this series. Perhaps more screen time should have been given to this issue, to let the fans get to know more about Nikita outside of his social media scandal and to further understand the decision to sign him.
Speaking of omissions, the brief mention of the Haas rivalry with Alfa Romeo meant that Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were also involved. There was some footage on the Italian, but hardly anything at all on the Finn. This is a huge disappointment for F1 fans who were hoping to see more of the already extremely elusive former world champion.