Haas F1 Team Parts Ways With Guenther Steiner; Ayao Komatsu Takes Over As Team Principal

Haas F1 Team undergoes a major leadership shake-up, parting ways with team principal Guenther Steiner after a disappointing 2023 season.

By Carandbike Team


1 mins read


Published on January 11, 2024

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    The US-owned Haas F1 Team has announced a significant change to its leadership following a disappointing 2023 season. Guenther Steiner, the mastermind behind the team's entry into Formula 1, will not be returning as the team principal. Steiner's contract, up for renewal at the end of the year, was not extended by Haas, marking the end of a decade-long collaboration.

    The decision appears to be a consequence of last year's poor performance - the team finished at the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship table - and underlying tensions between Steiner and Haas. Diverging opinions on the team's technical direction, highlighted by the use of different aero packages in the final races of 2023, were indicative of the internal conflicts.

    The team, facing financial challenges due to its 10th-place finish, now requires a larger contribution to the 2024 running budget from Haas himself. This places constraints on the team's ability to invest in facilities and keep up with competitors who are heavily investing in updated factory infrastructure.

    Contrastingly, rivals like Williams, Sauber, and AlphaTauri have taken advantage of extra capital expenditure allowances permitted by the FIA, committing to increased spending in anticipation of the 2026 regulation changes.

    To lead the team forward, Ayao Komatsu, the chief race engineer since the team's debut in 2016, has been appointed as the new team principal. Komatsu's responsibility will include shaping the team's strategy and on-track performance, emphasizing the need for improved efficiency and structural processes. A yet-to-be-named chief operating officer will handle non-racing matters, likely based at the UK facility in Banbury.

    Gene Haas expressed gratitude to Guenther Steiner for his decade-long dedication and emphasized the necessity of improving on-track performances. The shift in leadership aims to infuse engineering expertise into the team's management structure, aligning with Haas's desire to compete more effectively in F1.


    Komatsu, the first Japanese team principal of a European-based outfit, expressed excitement about the opportunity, vowing to lead the team towards improved on-track performances. The team acknowledges the need for consistent competitiveness, acknowledging past frustrations and committing to achieving better results with the support of Gene Haas and partners.

    Simone Resta, the former technical director, has also departed from Haas, leaving uncertainty about his future role. Having joined Haas in 2021 as part of a technical ties agreement with Ferrari, Resta's departure follows the team's failure to deliver expected improvements in the ground-effect era. Rumours suggest possible connections with Sauber as it prepares for Audi's entry in 2026.

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