Haas F1 embraces a new era under Ayao Komatsu’s leadership, aiming to rise from the championship’s depths. A challenging yet hopeful journey awaits amidst significant team changes and strategic shifts.
Ayao Komatsu, Haas F1’s new chief, expresses his aim to elevate the struggling American team from the bottom of the constructors’ championship standings this year. However, the challenge is daunting.
Team owner Gene Haas shook the Formula 1 world by recently dismissing the popular long-time team principal, Gunther Steiner, citing the team’s last-place finish in 2023 as “embarrassing.”
The team’s new principal, formerly the head of engineering, disclosed today that this decision was made months ago.
“I believe Gene had been considering it for at least the second half of last season. I think he was gradually getting frustrated and embarrassed – his word – watching his team fall to the bottom of the championship.”
Haas F1: Komatsu’s Challenging Rebuild Plan
Komatsu acknowledges that a change in leadership is not enough to shift performance gears. Yet, he asserts that the goal for 2024 is to reach eighth in the overall standings, which he admits “might seem modest but is actually a big deal when you’re up against teams like Sauber, AlphaTauri, or Williams.”
“I think it will be tough for us to overtake two teams on our own, rather than relying on others. Sauber and Williams have better budgets and systems than us.”
“And AlphaTauri has also significantly improved, and rumors say they will strengthen their partnership with Red Bull this year, so it might be that we can’t compete.”
“2024 is a transition period for us, but we still need to improve our results while changing the team. We don’t plan to stay eighth forever, but it’s a rebuilding year.”
However, Komatsu admits the new season might not start well for Haas.
“With less than a month until pre-season testing, I think the car we’ll bring to Bahrain will still be at the bottom.”
“It’s not the aerodynamics team’s fault, but the timing of decisions has delayed development, so they haven’t had much time. So, rather than focusing on absolute speed during testing, it’s important to thoroughly evaluate the car, find the development direction, and move forward from there.”
Haas F1’s New Direction Under Ayao Komatsu’s Leadership. Haas F1’s New Direction Under Ayao Komatsu’s Leadership