Guenther Steiner makes shock Haas F1 departure

Guenther Steiner makes shock Haas F1 departure

Guenther Steiner, popular star of Formula One docuseries Drive to Survive, has left Haas after eight seasons at the helm of the American team.

Steiner led Gene Haas’ team since it joined the championship in 2016.

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The Italian, who has become a cult F1 personality in recent years for his outspoken and blunt manner, has departed following Haas’ last-placed finish in the constructors’ championship last season.

Technical director Simone Resta, who joined from Ferrari in 2021, has also left the team.

Japan’s Ayao Komatsu has been promoted from trackside engineering director to replace Steiner, meaning 2024 will be his first time leading an F1 team.

Team owner Gene Haas said he sees Komatsu’s background as essential in reviving the team’s competitive fortunes.

“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,” the team owner said.

“Moving forward as an organization it was clear we need to improve our on-track performances. In appointing Ayao Komatsu 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 organization. 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 maximize our potential — this truly reflects my desire to compete properly in Formula One.”

Haas will appoint a European-based chief operating officer in the near future to assist Komatsu, who the team said in a statement on Tuesday will “take responsibility for the team’s overall strategy, and ultimately on-track performance, with a brief to maximize the team’s potential through employee empowerment and structural process and efficiency.”

Komatsu had a long stint as race engineer for Romain Grosjean, first at Lotus, before following the Frenchman to Haas when he joined the start-up team in 2016.

The Japanese native started his career as a tyre engineer for British American Racing (BAR) in 2003, before moving to Renault (which later became Lotus) in 2005.

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