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Haas F1 Decisions Komatsu Influential Gene Decides

Haas F1 Decisions: Komatsu Influential, Gene Decides

29/04/2024

In Haas F1, while Ayao Komatsu proposes driver choices, the final say rests firmly with owner Gene Haas.

Ayao Komatsu, the team director of Haas F1, will need to replace at least one of his two drivers for 2025 since Nico Hülkenberg has decided to join the Audi F1 project for 2026, which will begin with a preparation year at Stake F1 / Sauber next year.

Of course, the Japanese director won’t be the sole decision-maker; owner Gene Haas will obviously be central to the upcoming discussions.

And even though Ollie Bearman has been widely cited as the favorite to replace the German, nothing is finalized. Nico Hülkenberg’s departure, however, does enhance Kevin Magnussen’s chances of staying, given his extensive experience (though not necessarily speed…).

“I have already presented him with facts and opinions, but he is the owner. We have a very good dialogue, and he listens, but the final word will go to Gene.”

“But it’s not a dictatorship, if you will; we have a very good dialogue, we understand each other, but at the end of the day, it’s Gene’s team – he is the owner and if we disagree, it will be his decision. But I doubt it will come to that.”

Komatsu says he will weigh the merits and drawbacks of each potential driver for Haas F1. Will finances (or a reduction in bills from Ferrari) be considered in the decision?

“Not necessarily, no. It’s always on a case-by-case basis, really. So, Gene has never told me, ‘This is the money you have, I won’t spend more’—he hasn’t said anything like that,” he said when asked if he was given a budget for the driver duo.

“We always weigh the pros and cons—if we sign this driver, here are the benefits, here are the drawbacks, it could have such implications for the championship.”

“Of course, moving up a spot in the championship in terms of revenue is huge, so all these things need to be taken into consideration.”

“This guy brings us X. Or this guy costs us X or even more but he will make a difference in the championship position. It’s hard to say, of course, but you can look at it with, say, the average of the previous year, circumstantial evidence, etc.”

“But the bottom line is that we often have very good conversations with Gene, so that’s key to making a good choice for the future.”

Everyone is already placing Bearman in one of the Haas F1 cars next year.

“His performance when he suddenly found himself in a Ferrari was exceptional. We already knew last year that he was a great talent, but it was still impressive to see how well he handled the task in that Ferrari,” admits Komatsu, without revealing more about his chances for 2025.

The Japanese director has also been informally contacted by Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, as the situation at Alpine F1 deteriorates year by year.

Haas F1 Decisions Komatsu Influential Gene Decides

Haas F1 Decisions: Komatsu Influential, Gene Decides. Haas F1 Decisions: Komatsu Influential, Gene Decides

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