Drivers' Contract Negotiations Not On Haas's Priority List Currently

F1
by Adam OndrikSunday, 04 February 2024 at 22:00
magnussenhulkenberg haas3 latphoto
The new team principal of Haas, Ayao Komatsu, explained that his team is not focusing on renewing drivers' contracts at the moment as the car's performance is his team's priority.
Ayao Komatsu has been with Haas ever since the team was established. The new team principal knows the team very well inside out, which was one of the primary reasons for his appointment.
The team principal also knows both of the team's drivers quite well. Asked to describe his relationship with Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, Komatsu told Speedcafe:

"Good. I've known Kevin for some years, and Nico, I really enjoyed working with him last year. I didn't know him before."

In terms of communication with the drivers, Komatsu has a similar philosophy to the former team principal, Guenther Steiner, and that is being completely straightforward.

"Yeah, I've a good relationship with both drivers. They both know I'm quite straightforward. I say what I think, not in an aggressive way or anything, but no bul****t. It's just we haven't got time to waste. Right?"

Haas will start the 2024 season with an underdeveloped car. The Japanese team principal recently suggested he expects to start the season towards the back of the grid, "if not last."

"If you look at last year, clearly the drivers want those core issues solved because we weren't able to produce a car that was competitive enough, so that's the main thing I'm focused on."

Komatsu is aware that his team's priority needs to be improving the car. Therefore, he explained that the team will start focusing on the drivers' contracts around halfway through the season.

"Then I'm sure halfway through the season, or whatever the relevant point, we will discuss the drivers for 2025, but again, that's not something I'm putting lots of thought into at this minute. That's the truth."