Just hours after Haas lost their technical director, now their stalwart team principal Guenther Steiner has also headed for the exit door.
The F1 2024 campaign ahead requires significant improvement from Haas after they slumped to P10 and last in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship, and their redemption efforts will now take place with a new-look structure at the top.
Soon after it was confirmed that technical director Simone Resta had left the team, the shock news then came through that Steiner, too, was out the door.
Guenther Steiner out as Haas promote Ayao Komatsu
Steiner has been an instrumental figure at Haas even before the team joined the grid in 2016.
Following previous stints with Red Bull and Jaguar, Steiner began planting the seeds for Haas F1 Team in 2014, securing the backing of Gene Haas and sealing their key technical partnerships with Dallara and Ferrari, as well as interviewing every team member to bring the Haas squad into existence.
Steiner served as team principal ever since, becoming one of the best-known bosses on the F1 scene for his no-nonsense, yet entertaining persona, but his time with Haas is now over, the team confirming his departure with immediate effect, as Japanese figure Ayao Komatsu moves from trackside engineering director to team principal.
Reacting to his promotion, 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 programme 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.”
Haas confirmed that a European-based chief operating officer will also be appointed in due course, with the brief of managing all ‘non-competition matters and departments’.
Haas’ statement to announce Steiner’s departure notably did not feature any comment from Steiner himself.