Steiner vs Komatsu Clash Over Haas F1's Forecast

Steiner vs Komatsu: Clash Over Haas F1’s Forecast


Steiner accuses Komatsu of downplaying Haas F1’s potential, sparking a debate over the team’s pre-season predictions. Komatsu insists, however, that their early success remains a welcome surprise.

Was Ayao Komatsu overly pessimistic? At the beginning of the year, before winter testing, Günther Steiner’s successor painted a bleak picture for Haas F1. The team anticipated being at the very back of the pack, having not resolved all its performance issues.

Yet, the season’s start has been highly positive for Haas F1: the team scored points in the last two Grands Prix (including a double points finish in Australia).

Günther Steiner, either through clear-sightedness or jealousy, did not fail to point out last week that Komatsu had intentionally darkened the picture. Steiner knew, before leaving, that the wind tunnel figures were promising for Haas F1. At least, that’s what he claimed…

Steiner vs Komatsu Clash Over Haas F1's Forecast

All this, Ayao Komatsu denies: for him, the season’s start is a pleasant surprise, but a surprise nonetheless, for Haas F1.

“I knew how much time we were finding. But I had to assume that everyone else was finding at least the same, if not more, because I know how late we started.”

“I know we stopped for two months to make the evolution brought to Austin.”

“So, we are the smallest team, aren’t we? It’s not as if we had more advanced tools. Now, I’m sure that everyone is as smart as anyone else, on average.”

“So, that’s my reference base. I’m not bullshitting, I’m not making things up, I’m not putting up a smokescreen. This is what I expect from reality.”

“About the numbers (in the wind tunnel), I’m sorry, but it’s not a large number. So, I would never have thought it would be enough to secure 7th place in the constructors’ standings. It’s impossible. How could you expect Alpine to do what it did? Would you have predicted it? No.”

“So, you can’t rely on a team messing up everything, you have to assume they’re doing a good job.”

Members of Haas F1 also shared Komatsu’s pessimism: according to the team director, everyone expected to finish last in the constructors’ standings.

“Internally, I also didn’t want my staff to see the Bahrain car in last place, to get depressed and hang their heads.”

“I just wanted to tell them: you know what you’re doing, you just didn’t have enough time to make the car performant enough – it’s not your fault if we’re last in Bahrain.”

“That’s the internal message I wanted to convey. So, I had to prepare my guys for Bahrain so they wouldn’t be too depressed if we were last.”

“So, it’s more of an internal message, if you will, but it’s not a ‘smokescreen.’ Seriously, this is what I was expecting.”

Steiner vs Komatsu Clash Over Haas F1's Forecast

After private testing, Komatsu realized there was hope…

At the winter testing in Bahrain, Haas F1 focused solely on long runs, especially to address the critical issue of tire wear.

That’s when Komatsu began to feel more optimistic…

“After our pre-season testing, after the first and second day, looking at our race pace, I thought we might be able to compete against maybe two or three other teams. I wasn’t sure how many exactly, but somewhere around 8th, 7th place.”

“But yes, I only knew this once we started racing. And also, in terms of, let’s say, the aerodynamic downforce we generate from the car… it’s very different from what the wind tunnel says.”

“That’s a problem in itself. But it’s also partly a good surprise. Could I have predicted it by looking at the wind tunnel numbers? Not at all.”

Does the car produce more aerodynamic downforce than expected? Is the wind tunnel not correlated with the track?

“I’m not particularly keen on going into details. But it’s not like that. It’s not linear.”

“But some characteristics we see on the track… it’s maybe not great to talk in terms of simple numbers, absolute numbers, headline-grabbing numbers, should I say. We need to talk in terms of car characteristics: and our F1 car is much more exploitable, so that the driver can extract performance from it.”

“If you have a car that peaks, the driver can go to the limit from time to time. But if you have, say, a benign and more stable car… okay, the absolute performance is less, but nine times out of ten, he can find performance.”

“If you’re considering a race over 305 km, which car do you want? Of course, you want a benign and stable car. And in some parts of the car, that’s the case.”

“That’s why drivers can derive a certain confidence from it. Again, if someone can draw conclusions from the wind tunnel, that’s extraordinary.”

Steiner vs Komatsu Clash Over Haas F1's Forecast

Steiner vs Komatsu: Clash Over Haas F1’s Forecast. Steiner vs Komatsu: Clash Over Haas F1’s Forecast

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