Magnussen excited to see ‘real change’ at Haas

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Kevin Magnussen admitted to being excited by Haas’ prospects this season following the US outfit’s management overhaul, a change he sees as an opportunity for genuine progress.

After a lackluster 2023 season culminating in last place, Haas is embracing a new chapter – a post Guenther Steiner era – with the promotion to team principal of Japanese engineer Ayao Komatsu.

Steiner’s unexpected exit last month concluded an eight-year tenure for the man that put Haas on its rails in F1 in 2016.

The Italian’s contract with was up for renewal, but team owner Gene Haas opted to part ways with his outfit’s long-standing team principal following last year’s poor results.

Magnussen, speaking at a Moneygram-sponsored pre-season event organized in London on Thursday, expressed genuine affection for Steiner while acknowledging the need for a new direction.

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"I love Guenther, I've had a great relationship with (him) in the time I've been with Haas but it's also exciting to see some change. Some real change," commented Magnussen, quoted by Reuters at a pre-season event organised by team title sponsor Moneygram on Thursday.

"I think it's great that Ayao is already addressing some of the elephants in the room, like our trajectory on development for a season just hasn't been good.

“it's certainly very exciting times for us in Haas."


Last week, during the launch of Haas 2024 contender, Komatsu, offered a candid assessment of the team's early prospects, bluntly projecting Haas to remain near the back of the grid, potentially even languishing last in the early races.

This muted outlook stemmed from a development hiccup: an upgrade introduced late last year, while ultimately beneficial, siphoned resources and delayed work on the 2024 car by several months.

Despite the initial hurdles, Komatsu exuded a strategic vision, underscoring the importance of establishing a clear roadmap for the team's progress,

He also unveiled a 2024 target of eighth place, a realistic ambition considering their current position and acknowledging the competitive landscape.

"We made some changes in the organisational structures and we made some changes in promoting certain people internally for key positions," he said.

"I'm optimistic in the sense that there's a lot we can do."

Komatsu acknowledged the unexpected nature of his appointment by Gene Haas as team principal and expressed his commitment to his own leadership style, separate from Steiner's.

"I was really happy running a car," he said, referring to his early days in F1 as a race engineer. "Then an opportunity came up after four years and I became chief race engineer. Then again I came to Haas.

"Was I looking for a new team? No. But then I came to speak with Guenther, I really liked his vision and what he told me and so I decided OK I'm going to take this challenge.

“It’s not like I wanted to become principal, replacing Guenther. No way. Gene made his decision. OK, I know the team very well, lots of ideas, I know people are good, so why not give it a go?"

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