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Who’s Ayao Komatsu? All to know concerning the new Haas F1 crew boss

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The Haas Components 1 crew introduced this week (10 January) the shock departure of team principal Guenther Steiner, with Ayao Komatsu as his alternative.

It got here after Haas completed backside of the 2023 F1 constructors’ championship, which was its second last-place end in three years.

Such kind has led to Steiner dropping his job, a job the Italian had held for the reason that American outfit joined F1 in 2016.

So, with Komatsu now main the squad into 2024 and past, who’s the brand new Haas crew principal and the way did he find yourself within the function?

Who’s Ayao Komatsu?

Komatsu is the brand new Haas crew principal, having changed Steiner for the 2024 F1 season. The 47-year-old was born in Tokyo however aged 19 he left Japan for the UK to check Automotive Engineering at Loughborough College. Komatsu later obtained a PhD from Loughborough and has stayed within the UK ever since to work varied roles in F1.  

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Why has he develop into Haas F1 Team Principal? 

Komatsu turned the Haas F1 crew principal after Steiner’s contract got here to an finish. Nonetheless, friction had emerged between Steiner and crew proprietor Gene Haas following disagreements over the way to take the crew ahead.

Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Ayao Komatsu, Chief Engineer, Haas F1

Steiner was successfully asking for extra funding to match rival budgets, but Gene Haas was eager for extra environment friendly use of its sources having claimed he’s “embarrassed” that the crew has not made essentially the most of its partnership with Ferrari.   

Haas has come within the backside three of the F1 standings yearly since its greatest end of fifth in 2018, which included a point-less season in 2021. Though issues initially improved at first of 2022, kickstarting the ground-effect period with factors in three of the opening 4 grands prix, Haas was again to backside of the standings in 2023 with simply four-point finishes.

So, Gene Haas felt the crew wanted one thing totally different and the job was provided to Komatsu as a result of “Ayao has been with the team since day one, he knows the ins and outs of it.

How lengthy has he been at Haas? 

Komatsu joined Haas F1 for its debut season in 2016 because the crew’s trackside engineering director, which is a job he held yearly till turning into crew boss for 2024.  

He started his motorsport profession in 2003 as a tyre engineer for British American Racing earlier than shifting to Renault in 2006. Komatsu began as a efficiency engineer at Renault and by 2011 he was promoted to the function of Vitaly Petrov’s race engineer.  

In 2012 Komatsu turned Romain Grosjean’s race engineer for the Enstone-based squad, the place the 2 shaped a profitable partnership scoring 9 podiums throughout two seasons. Komatsu was later promoted to chief race engineer at Lotus (previously generally known as Renault) for 2014 till he left for the newly based Haas with Grosjean in 2016.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1, with Ayao Komatsu, Race Engineer, Lotus

Photograph by: Andrew Ferraro

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1, with Ayao Komatsu, Race Engineer, Lotus

Will he enhance Haas?

Haas has taken a really totally different strategy for its new crew principal, with Komatsu fairly the other to Steiner. The 47-year-old comes with an engineering background, so he’s a really technical one that Gene Haas stated “looks at things based on statistics” whereas Steiner was higher on the operational aspect of the organisation performing as extra of a person supervisor.

The appointment additionally continues a development that has emerged in F1 just lately, the place groups have employed bosses with extra of an engineer’s mind – assume McLaren with Andrea Stella and James Vowles at Williams.

So, it stays to be seen if this new strategy works for Haas, nevertheless, it has carried out for McLaren and Williams who each improved on its 2022 ending place in 2023. The most important activity for Komatsu is to make higher use of what’s at his disposal as a result of Gene Haas is not going to spend money on the crew extra, so it must be extra environment friendly with sources.

If Haas can shut that hole to the remainder of the sphere – the crew completed 4 factors behind next-to-bottom Alfa Romeo, who’s now Sauber – then Komatsu could have carried out a great job. One space Haas wants to enhance upon in 2024 is its race tempo as a result of the VF-23’s tyres overheated far too rapidly so drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen have been compelled into tyre administration for a lot of grands prix.

What’s going to occur to Guenther Steiner? 

It’s unknown what Steiner will do after leaving Haas F1, as he’s anticipated to take a while away from motor racing to resolve his subsequent steps. 

Steiner is unlikely to land a crew principal function elsewhere in F1, however that doesn’t imply he can not go into one other collection like ex-Caterham and Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul did with Hyundai within the World Rally Championship.

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, during the team representatives press conference

Photograph by: FIA Pool

Guenther Steiner, Crew Principal, Haas F1 Crew, through the crew representatives press convention

Nonetheless, Steiner does produce other enterprise ventures because the Italian co-founded American firm FibreWorks Composites, which is a carbon-composites design and manufacturing organisation specialising in motorsport.

That’s more likely to preserve him busy within the coming months, though many media and broadcasting corporations might wish to rent Steiner for work after his rise to stardom in Netflix’s Drive to Survive.

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