JANUARY 22, 2024

Haas new boss facing difficult task

Ayao Komatsu will find it "difficult" to turn the dire competitive situation at Haas around.

Nico Hulkenberg, Abu Dhabi GP 2023
© Haas F1 Team / LAT

That is the view of Alexey Popov, a well-known Russian Formula 1 commentator, in the wake of Gunther Steiner's sacking by team owner Gene Haas.

Komatsu has always been an engineer at Haas, and now he has taken Steiner's place, said Popov, after the small American team finished dead last in 2023.

This is not the only similar case, he added. "(Mattia) Binotto was an engineer who headed Ferrari, while (Andrea) Stella was an engineer who become the boss at McLaren.

And although (James) Vowles left Mercedes, he became the head of Williams - also a man with an engineering background. You could even say this is a trend among the current team bosses.

However, will Japanese Komatsu now be able to use his engineering knowledge and experience to turn the situation at Haas around? The team is now actively searching for the additional role of chief operating officer, freeing up Komatsu to not have to worry about marketing and sponsorship issues.

It's a difficult situation for him, Popov insists. "The team's budget is not that big.

Yes, Gene Haas has hit the table with his first, but I don't know if Haas will be able to move out of last place among the teams with the current level of investment.