New Haas boss admits problems with team’s structure ahead of season launch

Sam Cooper
Ayao Komatsu and Guenther Steiner

Ayao Komatsu has replaced Guenther Steiner at the top of Haas.

Haas’ news team principal Ayao Komatsu admitted that having a base in the UK and Italy was not the ideal way to run a Formula 1 team.

While their official HQ is in the US, Haas primarily operate out of two bases, one in the UK and the other in Italy.

But Komatsu has admitted that is not the ideal way to run a team, although also conceded it was not the only issue Haas needed to solve.

Haas boss highlights issues with team’s organisational set-up

Komatsu was speaking to the media for the first time since being named Guenther Steiner’s replacement and said that if you gave him a blank piece of paper, two HQs separated by hundreds of miles would not be his first choice.

“Of course, if you’re setting up on a blank sheet of paper, you’re not going to set up an F1 team with two separate factories in the UK and Italy, but that’s how we started and that was very beneficial in ’16, ’17, ’18 to get off the ground,” Komatsu said, as per Motorsport Magazine.

“Then of course the landscape changes, certain regulation changes happen, so the team needs to develop.

“Those kind of things we need to assess continuously. But again, if you ask me is that ideal, having a UK office here and an Italy office there? No. But is that a main constraint? No. Can we do better? Absolutely yes. So that’s what I’m focused on.

“If we get the maximum out of how we set up, and then if that becomes right, we [therefore] cannot do anything better with the way we set up [and] then we can talk about that.

“That’s my strategy, if you like. But of course you’ve got to have that, not in the back of your mind, but as a strategy medium, long-term where you might want to go. But that’s not my focus at the minute.”

The reason for Haas’ structure being like that is the link they have with Ferrari as their Italian base is next door to Ferrari’s. But as the team looks to improve, the difficulties in that separation is clear. Of all the other competitors, it is only Alpine and AlphaTauri whose operation is split across two countries. recommends

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“Ideally, if you have no constraints, of course you put everybody in the same factory, right?” Komatsu continued.

“Same with designers, when certain things break it’s so important for designers to have that part in their hand. So yeah, ideally, that’s the case, but that’s not how we’re set up, and that’s not going to change in the foreseeable future.

“So again, like I said, I try to maximise what we have got to start off with, get to the absolute limitation, and then when we get to the stage where we really cannot do anything more with this set-up, and then this is the limit, then maybe there’s a discussion point.

“But at this minute, what I found is that depending on people’s capability, it depends how you know each other, if you know somebody personally well, and then this person is let’s say, technically on a certain level, I found that actually it’s fine, mostly, to work remotely.

“But when you don’t have that personal relationship, when you don’t know the person very well, or this person’s skillset or level is just below the certain level required, then it can go from absolutely fine, to absolutely not fine.

“It’s a bit case-by-case, so you cannot say a blanket statement that the separate office doesn’t work. In certain cases I’ve seen, even with the current organisation, certain areas where it works really well, with no issues whatsoever. But in certain areas, it’s a big issue. So case-by-case.”

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