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Komatsu Hunts for Veteran Pilot to Aid Bearman

Komatsu Hunts for Veteran Pilot to Aid Bearman

06/07/2024

Komatsu is on the lookout for an experienced driver to support Ollie Bearman at Haas F1, sparking intrigue about the team’s promising advancements.

This weekend brings significant news from Haas F1—and it’s hardly a surprise. Ollie Bearman is confirmed to race next year, though his future teammate remains unnamed.

Ayao Komatsu, successor to Günther Steiner, is the man behind this decision. So, why opt for a rookie?

Indeed, Oliver Bearman shows promise (evidenced by his 7th place in Saudi Arabia, driving Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari). But has Haas F1 not learned its lesson from rookies after the experiences with Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher?

“We are still a team in development, on the whole,” Ayao Komatsu explained in the Silverstone paddock.

“We are a relatively new team. And we are in the process of resetting, let’s say, and enhancing our performance.”

“And Ollie, obviously, is a very talented young driver who is grounded. He’s very calm yet mature, he’s fast—and he’s very committed to the team. That’s how we want to progress as a team, and that’s what I mean by a perfect fit.”

Oliver Bearman will have no fewer than six free practice sessions this year to tune up for next season.

He was indeed in Kevin Magnussen’s Haas F1 car this Friday, in FP1 at Silverstone. And has Ayao Komatsu noticed a difference in the Brit’s demeanor, knowing he’ll be racing next year?

“No, not really. Because, again, that’s what was impressive previously when we put him in the car in Mexico last year, for his very first time in a Formula 1 car, in FP1. Of course, he was excited. But he understood the team’s objective, what this session means for the team, what we need to achieve. He tries to drive as fast as possible, of course. But he’s looking at the bigger picture, he always understands the context very, very well. That’s what was impressive before.”

“It’s not something he needed to change during free practice. Of course, at Silverstone, he was, I’m sure, very happy to drive in front of his home crowd, following the announcement. So, he enjoyed that. But fundamentally, the approach was exactly the same.”

Now that Oliver Bearman is confirmed, Ayao Komatsu must consider the identity of his teammate. What is certain is that this second driver will be experienced. Perhaps Esteban Ocon?

“Yes, especially for a team like ours, we can’t have two rookies. So now that we’ve taken Ollie as a newcomer, we’ll try to appoint someone who has solid F1 experience.”

With Haas F1 poised for success with its developments this weekend?

Let’s now talk about the immediate short term, that is, this race weekend at Silverstone.

After a double points finish at the Red Bull Ring, Haas F1 appears highly competitive again with its UK developments. Nico Hülkenberg even secured 4th place in FP2.

“I’m not overly confident that we can repeat the 6th and 8th places from Austria,” Ayao Komatsu tempers expectations.

“It would require misfortune for other cars. But I’m convinced that we can contend for points. If you look at the 11 races from the start of the season, aside from Monaco, even in the races where we didn’t score points, we finished 11th five times, I believe. In Bahrain, we finished 12th. So, we’ve always been there or thereabouts.”

“And we’ve installed new parts on the car this weekend. But we really need to assess whether it’s a step forward or not. But as long as things don’t regress, we should be able to fight for points. If we have a good race, we have a chance to be 9th, 10th. That’s what we’re aiming for.”

Is Haas F1 satisfied with these developments? What can Ayao Komatsu say about them?

“I can’t say much. You know, we’ve gathered data, but Nico drove the pre-development car in FP1… So we updated Nico’s car to the Silverstone spec for FP2. I think therefore we’ll have good data, and with feedback from Nico, we’ll then be able to make a decision.”

Haas F1's Future Promising Developments Ahead

Haas F1’s Future: Promising Developments Ahead? Haas F1’s Future: Promising Developments Ahead?

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