Shock exit for Guenther Steiner as Haas team principal

Guenther Steiner has left the Haas F1 team with immediate effect and has been replaced as team principal by Ayao Komatsu. 
Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal. Formula 1 World…

Steiner had been in charge of the American outfit since the team debuted in F1 in 2016 but has been removed from his position on the eve of the 2024 season. 

According to Sky, Steiner’s contract was not renewed after it expired at the end of 2023. 

Komatsu, who like Steiner was one of the core group of early Haas signings, has been promoted from his role of director of engineering, with the 47-year-old Japanese engineer overseeing all competition elements. 

“I’d like to start by extending my thanks to Guenther Steiner for all his hard work over the past decade and I wish him well for the future,” Haas team owner Gene Haas said. 

“Moving forward as an organisation it was clear we need to improve our on-track performances. In appointing Ayao Komatsu as Team Principal we fundamentally have engineering at the heart of our management.

"We have had some successes, but we need to be consistent in delivering results that help us reach our wider goals as an organisation. We need to be efficient with the resources we have but improving our design and engineering capability is key to our success as a team. 

“I’m looking forward to working with Ayao and fundamentally ensuring that we maximise our potential – this truly reflects my desire to compete properly in Formula 1.”

Ayao Komatsu (JPN) Haas F1 Team Race Engineer in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese
Ayao Komatsu (JPN) Haas F1 Team Race Engineer in the FIA Press Conference…

Komatsu said: “I’m naturally very excited to have the opportunity to be Team Principal at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team. Having been with the team since its track-debut back in 2016 I’m obviously passionately invested in its success in Formula 1. I’m looking forward to leading our program and the various competitive operations internally to ensure we can build a structure that produces improved on-track performances.

“We are a performance-based business. We obviously haven’t been competitive enough recently which has been a source of frustration for us all. We have amazing support from Gene and our various partners, and we want to mirror their enthusiasm with an improved on-track product. 

“We have a great team of people across Kannapolis, Banbury and Maranello and together I know we can achieve the kind of results we’re capable of.”

It has been a bombshell day of departures for Haas, with technical director Simone Resta also quitting his role.

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