Haas appoints Ayao Komatsu as the new team boss

Haas appoints Ayao Komatsu as the new team boss

Haas will have a new team boss for 2024 after almost a decade after Ayao Komatsu was appointed to replace Guenther Steiner who was fired with immediate effect.

The Haas Formula 1 team announced the shocking resignation of team principal Guenther Steiner earlier this week as trackside director Ayao Komatsu was confirmed to take over as the new team boss.

Guenther Steiner, who has been the face of Haas since the team’s Formula 1 debut in 2016, will be leaving a massive vacuum as one of the most iconic team managers in recent memory. Japanese engineer Ayao Komatsu will be stepping up to the new role after serving in the team since 2016.

In 2016, Komatsu became the trackside engineering director for Haas F1 for its inaugural season. He would continue in this capacity each year until taking over as team boss in 2024.

He started his career in motorsports in 2003 as a tyre engineer with British American Racing and later joined Renault in 2006 as a performance engineer and moved up to become Vitaly Petrov’s race engineer at the same team.

Komatsu remained at Renault for 2012 but became Romain Grosjean’s race engineer and the two had a successful working relationship, achieving nine podiums in two seasons.

Later, Komatsu received a promotion to the position of chief race engineer at Lotus (previously known as Renault) for the 2014 season, after which he and Grosjean both departed for the newly established Haas for 2016 season.

Since then, Komatsu has held senior engineering roles at Haas and has remained in Formula 1 with the team following Grosjean’s departure to race in the IndyCar series.

Given his lengthy relationship with Haas and his success in Formula 1, Komatsu is a prime candidate for an internal promotion. However, all eyes will be on the Japanese engineer as he takes on the responsibilities of leading the team and representing Haas on the grand stage.

“In appointing Ayao Komatsu as Team Principal, we fundamentally have engineering at the heart of our management,” read a very pointed statement from Gene Haas following the promotion of Komatsu.

“We need to be efficient with the resources we have but improving our design and engineering capability is key to our success as a team.

“I’m looking forward to working with Ayao and fundamentally ensuring that we maximize our potential – this truly reflects my desire to compete properly in Formula 1.”

Komatsu is yet to speak to the media following his confirmation but said in a statement: “I’m naturally very excited to have the opportunity to be Team Principal at Haas.

“Having been with the team since its track debut back in 2016, I’m obviously passionately invested in its success in Formula 1.

“I’m looking forward to leading our program and the various competitive operations internally to ensure we can build a structure that produces improved on-track performances.

“We are a performance-based business. We obviously haven’t been competitive enough recently which has been a source of frustration for us all.

“We have amazing support from Gene and our various partners, and we want to mirror their enthusiasm with an improved on-track product.

“We have a great team of people across Kannapolis, Banbury, and Maranello, and together I know we can achieve the kind of results we’re capable of.”

Haas settled on Komatsu as the new team principal, as the team’s strategy is entirely different from Steiner’s. With an engineering background, the 47-year-old is very technical and, according to Gene Haas, bases his decisions on statistics, whereas Steiner was more effective on the operational side of the squad.

The appointment also carries on a recent trend in Formula 1 where teams are hiring directors who have more of an engineering background; McLaren’s Andrea Stella and Williams’ James Vowles are two examples of such bosses.

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