Haas boss Komatsu promises drivers 'no BS' approach


New Haas team boss Ayao Komatsu is wasting no time setting the tone as he vows to adopt a "no bullshit" approach with drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg.

Positioned at the helm of the US outfit by Gene Haas after the surprise firing of former team principal Guenther Seiner, Komatsu has made clear that he has no intention of emulating his predecessor.

While his approach might differ from Steiner’s, Komatsu’s insists he’ll strive to be “the best version” of himself.

“I’m not here to replace Guenther Steiner’s character,” commented the Japanese engineer.

“He’s a very different character, as you know. He’s got very different strengths and weaknesses to me, so I’m not trying to be somebody else.

“I understand that Gene wanted something different, so I’ll try to be the best version of myself rather than trying to be somebody else.”

However, one key tenet seems shared with Steiner: direct and transparent communication with Haas’ drivers.

Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg will know precisely what the team demands and where they stand regarding their future, an approach that fosters clarity and accountability, potentially driving performance, but also leaving little room for ambiguity.

“I've known Kevin for some years, and Nico, I really enjoyed working with him last year. I didn't know him before,” Komatsu explained.

“Yeah, I've a good relationship with both drivers. They both know I'm quite straightforward. I say what I think, not in an aggressive way or anything, but no bullshit. It's just we haven't got time to waste. Right?

“Then they know exactly where I am, they know where they are, and we work well together. In terms of our strengths and weaknesses, we understand each other pretty well.

“We've got good, open, transparent dialogue, so I'm happy with that.”

The 47-year-old Japanese engineer is currently dug in, “tackling core fundamental issues” ahead of Haas’ all-important 2024 campaign during which it ambitions to extract itself from the lower tier of the grid.

But there will come a time when Magnussen and Hulkenberg – and their future with the team – will be the focus of his attention.

“If you look at last year, clearly the drivers want those core issues solved because we weren't able to produce a car that was competitive enough, so that's the main thing I'm focused on,” said Komatsu.

“Then I'm sure halfway through the season, or whatever the relevant point, we will discuss the drivers for 2025, but again, that's not something I'm putting lots of thought into at this minute. That's the truth.”

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