Guenther Steiner leaves Haas F1 team with immediate effect

U.S. Formula 1 team Haas has replaced its team principal just six weeks before the start of the new season.

Haas announced on Wednesday that Guenther Steiner has left his role of team principal, effective immediately. His replacement has been named as Ayao Komatsu, formerly the team’s director of engineering.

Steiner has led Haas since the team’s 2016 inaugural season but has failed to make much headway. The team, which runs Ferrari power units and was founded by Gene Haas, co-owner of NASCAR’s Stewart Haas Racing, has failed to make a single podium finish, and finished last in two out of the last three seasons.

Komatsu has more than two decades of experience in F1, including at British American Racing and Renault before joining Haas in 2016.

Ayao Komatsu

He will be tasked primarily with the team’s on-track performance. For non-competition areas of focus, such as administration, finance, and marketing, Haas plans to establish a new chief operating officer role.

Komatsu won’t be the only new team principal in the 2024 season. Red Bull feeder team AlphaTauri last year named Laurent Mekies as the replacement for retiring veteran Franz Tost.

Teams will start revealing their 2024 cars in the weeks ahead. Pre-season testing is scheduled for Feb. 21-23 at the Bahrain International Circuit, and the first race of the new season, the Bahrain Grand Prix, will take place at the same location on March 2.

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