Haas tyre woes potentially linked to communication gaps

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Haas is still searching for answers on its tyre degradation issues, but team boss Ayao Komatsu has suggested that its woes could be rooted in an inter-department communication gap at the US outfit.

Tyre degradation on race day was a persistent theme for Haas throughout the 2023 season, and one that seriously undermined the efforts of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg on Sundays.

At last October’s US Grand Prix, Haas rolled out a significantly revised car which in included a conversion to Red Bull’s trademark downwash sidepod concept.

It was hoped at the time that the overhaul would not only improve the aerodynamic efficiency of its VF-23 and establish a foundation for 2024 but also solve its chronic tyre degradation woes. Alas, that wasn’t the case.

After taking the helm of Haas following the exit of former team boss Guenther Steiner, Komatsu made clear that resolving the team’s tyre conundrum was a top priority.

The Japanese engineer believes that Haas’ understanding has progressed although he acknowledged that the team has not yet achieved a complete solution.

"I don't think we understand everything," admitted Komatsu. "I think we understand a significant part of it, but the only proof is if you can produce a car that can deal with the problem.

"I don't like to sit here and say that we understand it 100%, We don't. But we have a decent idea of why and where we need to focus on."

Haas's struggles with tyre management has been an underlying theme for several seasons, going all the way back to 2019 and to the outfit’s tyre warm-up problems.

Komatsu, who has been with Haas since its arrival in F1 in 2016, suggests that these recurring tyre-related problems may stem from underlying issues in the team's cross-departmental communication and collaboration.

Effective communication and integration between the various departments responsible for car design, development, and performance are crucial for optimizing tyre performance and ensuring consistent race results.

From '19 to '23, the programme is very different," he said. "It may look the same, but it is very different. But the working practice is the core.

"If we are not working in a very integrated manner, communicating properly between the aero department in Italy to the tyre department in the UK, that is a problem.

"That working culture and practice is something I am going to focus on improving. We want to move as one.

"We've got a real car issue, accept it, then communicate and discuss it openly with all the relevant people. And even then, if around the table there is still a disagreement from certain people, you cannot avoid that."


Komatsu stresses that Haas's progress hinges on improving communication flow and establishing a robust infrastructure that facilitates sound decision-making."

"I do think that disagreement is healthy, as long as everybody then knows that a decision needs to be taken," he added. "So somebody needs to take a decision and we're going to go in this direction. That's fine.

"But when one group says 'I think this is a problem' and this guy says, 'OK fine', and then doesn't communicate together afterwards and keeps going in his direction, then we cannot improve. I think working practices need to improve."

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