Komatsu on Gene Haas’s clear goals for the 2024 F1 season: “It’s actually motivating for everyone here.”

Photo Credits: Haas F1 Team Media
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Haas replaced long-time manager Guenther Steiner over the offseason after a disappointing 2023 season, in which the team came last in the constructors’ championship.

A suitable replacement  in a bid to improve its performance and move up the grid, Komatsu is now in charge of the Banbury-based team’s operations.  

Although some were surprised by Gene Haas’s recent criticism of the team’s performance, Komatsu thinks he was completely within his rights to say what he did.

“Gene at the moment, he wants to get off the back of the grid,” said Komatsu. 

“You saw and heard how unhappy Gene was. I mean, of course, who’s going to be happy competing in last place? It is embarrassing. It really is embarrassing..“

So I think it’s positive that Gene’s unhappy where we are. If the people in the team think, ‘Okay, we are last, and then we’re not sure where we’re going because Gene doesn’t say anything’ then [they will think], is Gene happy just making up numbers being P10? That’s clearly not the case. “

Formerly Director of Trackside Engineering for the American team, Komatsu is looking forward to assist in the quest to bring back Haas to its former midfield status.

“It’s actually motivating for everyone here. Okay, Gene is serious, he wants to improve the team. So let’s do it together.” 

Team Owner Gene Haas may not be present at every Formula 1 race due to his other work engagements. However, every time he has the occasion to join his team, Haas is an highly involved and hands-on boss, who also takes the time to focus on technical elements.

Komatsu appreciates the American businessman’s transparency in encouraging the team to strive for better placements and results: 

“He’s very enthusiastic,” explained Komatsu. “He may not necessarily understand the details of Formula 1 teams, but at least he gives me a clear direction of what he wants out of the team, which is clear. “

“And then how to achieve that, that is my job with all the other guys. I cannot do it myself. I don’t have any plans to do it myself. I need all the guys to be pulling together, but at least I know what he wants and he is pretty clear.” 

Compared to his prior experience with the Lotus/Renault team, where he had seen a lack of enthusiasm from the upper echelons, Komatsu thinks that Gene Haas’s commitment to his F1 team’s happenings is a vast improvement.

It’s good because he’s very engaged and very enthusiastic,” said Komatsu. “One of the differences I saw when I came here was in my previous team, which went through various owners, or certain owners, they weren’t interested at all. It was an investment for them.”  

“They didn’t care about the racing side. All they were interested in was doing some track days with an old F1 car. Honestly, they didn’t care,” the Japanese TP added.

“That was very disappointing, but one of the most refreshing things coming here in 2016 was the owner, Gene Haas, he was so passionate about it.  “

Komatsu went on to recount one of his earliest meetings with the American recently turned F1 Team Owner:

“I remember, I think it was winter testing when we had a certain car failure, he was in the garage looking at the part because he is interested in the hardware and the mechanical side of things.  “

“He was just so interested to understand and know what went wrong.  I think that is good that this owner is passionate about what he is investing in,” he concluded.

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