Komatsu Explains Why Haas Didn't Bring Team Principal From Outside To Replace Steiner

F1
by Adam OndrikMonday, 29 January 2024 at 03:00
steiner guenther haas10 latphoto
Ayao Komatsu explained what he believes to be the reason behind Gene Haas's choice to promote someone from inside the team rather than bring an experienced team principal from outside.
The Haas F1 team went through quite a significant change ahead of the season 2024 when the team's long-term team principal, Guenther Steiner, was replaced by Ayao Komatsu.
Gene Haas made a similar decision to what Zak Brown did when he promoted a person from within a team (who has never been a team principal) to take over the role.
This decision worked out quite well for McLaren, but it remains to be seen whether it will work out for Haas. As to why Gene Haas didn't bring anybody from outside, Komatsu told as-web.jp:

"The problem here is that Haas has a unique way of operating the team, such as having an alliance with Ferrari and having bases in the UK and Italy."

This complex team structure is something that Steiner came up with, and it might take time for someone from the outside to understand and adjust to how the American team operates.

"In order to think about how to proceed within this system, or how to change the system, it is difficult to understand the current situation of the team."

The Japanese engineer has been with the team ever since its first season. The eight years of experience is not something a person from outside could match in about two months.

"When bringing in someone from outside, it takes time for that person to understand the team, so Gene came to the conclusion that it had to be someone from within the team who understood the current situation."

The pre-season testing in Bahrain starts in 23 days, and even though Haas takes 2024 as the transition period, the team still has a goal of achieving eighth place in the Championship.
The best option to avoid completely jeopardizing the 2024 season was to appoint someone who truly understands the team and can start working with it immediately. Komatsu added:

"Even if the team has the same management system, it will take time to start working and understand the team, and there is a possibility that the 2024 season will be in jeopardy."