Guenther Steiner era frustrations over as Haas reveal change of plan for F1 2024

Oliver Harden
Guenther Steiner looks directly down the barrel on the camera lens with a prominent Haas logo alongside him

Haas have made a fine start to life after Guenther Steiner

Haas are set to bring their first upgrade package of the F1 2024 season forward in a marked change from the Guenther Steiner era.

Steiner left his role as Haas team principal at the end of 2023 after his contract was not extended, with long-serving engineer Ayao Komatsu promoted as his replacement.

Haas announce marked change from Guenther Steiner era

Komatsu has overseen an encouraging start to the new season for the American team, with Haas scoring points in two of the opening three races – including last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, where both cars finished inside the top 10 for the first time since July 2022.

In-season development has been a major weakness for Haas since they arrived on the grid in 2016, with the team finishing bottom of the Constructors’ standings for two of the last three years.

Nico Hulkenberg was fiercely critical of the team’s lack of upgrades across 2023, claiming last November that Haas were “paying the price” for a lack of updates and warning that the team could not compete seriously if the situation was left unchanged.

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In a promising development, however, Komatsu has confirmed that Haas’s first upgrades of the new season are set to arrive earlier than expected after “solid work” by the aerodynamics department.

In an email sent to Haas fans and seen by PlanetF1.com, Komatsu detailed the change of plan with the team seeing “encouraging signs” from the upgrade.

He wrote: “Looking ahead, we know there is a lot of work to be done. Regarding the VF-24, the direction is clear.

“Originally, we were going to bring our first upgrade slightly later in the season, but our aerodynamics team has been doing some solid work.

“So instead, we’re going to be bringing updates earlier, which is a change for the team.

“We’ve seen encouraging signs so now we need to prove it on track.”

Komatsu’s comments come after Steiner claimed Haas were wrong to play down expectations ahead of the new season, revealing he was confident that the team would enjoy an improved 2024 season as a result of the work done before he headed for the exit.

He said: “They did a good job and I always told Gene Haas [team owner] that I actually had it right on where they ended up to be, because I knew the numbers from the wind tunnel.

“I think, in the beginning, they played it down to have an excuse to start off with and then it was better than they expected.

“That is, for me, wrong to do. And I think everybody was convinced it was this path, I was convinced that’s what it was.

“But, in my opinion, it’s not about this year, it’s about the mid-term.

“You can go from year to year and every year you can say, ‘Oh, we are bad’, and then you do better than you are.

“I’m very happy for the team that they score points because I like these guys.

“A lot of people have been there since the beginning, so I have no bad feelings about that.

“I’m actually pretty happy when they score points because I know the technical team in Italy did a good job last year. They worked very, very hard to produce the car that is running now.

“Only time will tell what’s happening in the future.”

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