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Haas F1 New Era Optimism

Magnussen Eyes Progress in Haas F1’s Fresh Chapter

22/02/2024

Amidst Haas F1’s leadership shake-up, Kevin Magnussen sees a brighter future post-Gunther Steiner, hinting at positive changes and team growth.

While Nico Hülkenberg expressed regret over the dismissal of Haas F1 Team Principal Gunther Steiner, his teammate Kevin Magnussen is more optimistic about the new era ahead.

The American team finished last in 2023, prompting owner Gene Haas to disagree with Steiner’s view that the team needed more funding, leading to Steiner’s removal.

“I had a great relationship with Günther, but we didn’t grow enough,” long-time Haas driver Magnussen stated during testing in Bahrain. “I think this new direction will be beneficial.”

He praised the internal promotion of Ayao Komatsu, a low-profile engineer who now steps in as team principal, and affirmed that the three-day program

“So far, he has worked to keep everyone focused on our current task, which is to improve our racing situation. That’s clearly what will allow us to enhance our season,” Magnussen said.

“Why not use our three testing days to learn more about this? That’s been the case throughout the preseason. It also applies to setting expectations within the team. We’re not dreaming as much this year.”

“We know the task ahead, the situation we’re in, and we’re addressing it realistically. He’s an engineer. He sees things differently. But a Formula 1 team is mainly made up of engineers, and now they have someone at the top who speaks their language.”

“Of course, Gunther had his strengths. Ayao is certainly not one to handle commercial matters. But that doesn’t concern me. I just want a fast race car.”

Magnussen states that the 2024 car “looks better” than its two 2023 predecessors, “but that will be the case for everyone.” Most importantly, he believes Komatsu represents a necessary change at Haas.

“He’s not going to change everything overnight. But it’s a positive start that he’s always at the track. You always get the feeling he’s a race engineer, but now he’s at the top.”

“When the mechanics work late into the night, he’s there too. It creates a different dynamic. He ensures everyone is moving in the same direction.”

However, Magnussen agrees with Hulkenberg that the new car does not and will not represent a leap forward for Haas.

“It’s very frustrating to have a fast car for a lap but not be able to maintain that speed throughout a stint. Unfortunately, we don’t have answers yet. But there are hints. If we can improve our race performance even slightly, things will be completely different for us.”

Magnussen hopes the new rear suspension provided by Ferrari will contribute to this: “We’re still exploring it, but it looks positive.”

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