Komatsu Supports Gene Haas’s Criticism of Team’s F1 Performance

Ayao Komatsu, the new team principal for Haas, agrees with Gene Haas's criticism regarding the team's disappointing Formula 1 results.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 2, 2024

Gene Hass Team Owner Haas F1

Following a difficult 2023 season that saw Haas at the bottom of the constructors’ championship, the team decided to part ways with long-time leader Guenther Steiner during the off-season.

Ayao Komatsu, who has taken over the reins, is now conducting a comprehensive assessment of the operations of the Banbury-based squad. His goal is to implement changes that will improve the team’s standings in future races.

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Gene Haas’s recent candid comments about the team’s underperformance have attracted attention. However, Komatsu agrees with Haas, stating that the criticism of the team’s results is warranted.

“Gene at the moment, he wants to get off the back of the grid,” said Komatsu. “You saw and heard how unhappy Gene was.  I mean, of course, who’s going to be happy competing in last place? It is embarrassing. It really is embarrassing.  

“So I think it’s positive that Gene’s unhappy where we are. If the people in the team think, ‘Okay, we are last, and then we’re not sure where we’re going because Gene doesn’t say anything’ then [they will think], is Gene happy just making up numbers being P10? That’s clearly not the case.  

“It’s actually motivating for everyone here. Okay, Gene is serious, he wants to improve the team. So let’s do it together.” 

Although team owner Haas isn’t present at every F1 race, he is recognized for his active involvement during his visits, especially in focusing on technical aspects.

Moreover, Komatsu appreciates Haas’s straightforward method of encouraging the team towards continual enhancements.

“He’s very enthusiastic,” explained Komatsu. “He may not necessarily understand the details of Formula 1 teams, but at least he gives me clear direction of what he wants out of the team, which is clear.

“And then how to achieve that, that is my job with all the other guys. I cannot do it myself. I don’t have any plans to do it myself. I need all the guys to be pulling together, but at least I know what he wants and he is pretty clear.”

Komatsu notes that Gene Haas’s keen involvement in his F1 team is more favourable than his past experience at Lotus/Renault, where there was a noticeable lack of enthusiasm from higher-level management.

“It’s good because he’s very engaged and very enthusiastic,” said Komatsu. “One of the differences I saw when I came here was in my previous team, which went through various owners, or certain owners, they weren’t interested at all. It was an investment for them.

“They didn’t care about the racing side. All they were interested in was doing some track days with an old F1 car. Honestly, they didn’t care.

“That was very disappointing, but one of the most refreshing things coming here in 2016 was the owner, Gene Haas, he was so passionate about it.

Source: Autosport

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Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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