Komatsu aims to attract new talent to Haas via results

(L to R): Ayao Komatsu (JPN) Haas F1 Team Principal with Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team on the grid. 07.04.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images
© XPB 

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu says it's crucial for the squad to perform on track this season if it is to attract top driving talent to the line-up next year - acknowledging that Kevin Magnussen's seat at Haas is under threat.

Haas will already need to find a replacement for Nico Hulkenberg who is heading to Sauber (and Audi) next season. He's been responsible for six of Haas' total of seven championship points in the first rounds of 2024.

By contrast, Magnussen has had a troubled start to the season and picked up a swathe of penalties in Miami that have left him very close to incurring an automatic one-race ban in coming weeks if there are any more.

Komatsu admitted that Magnussen needs to find a consistent run of form if he wants to be in the mix to keep his seat at Haas next season, with the team already eyeing up alternative options such as Ollie Bearman.

“I can’t say much, but of course, yes - he needs to perform," Komatsu told SpeedCity Broadcasting at Imola. "Kevin needs to put the whole weekend together.”

Magnussen's race last week was compromised when he was impeded by Oscar Piastri in the first round of qualifying which left him starting at the back. But he had a strong race and finished the Emilia Romagna GP in 12th.

“Kevin started from the back but he had a good start, he had decent pace on the medium and we went long and were looking at the gap to Zhou," Komatsu said. “I think we could have got P10 for sure.

Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas VF-24. 18.05.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

"Then we got the pit stop lap wrong," he admitted. “One lap too late, so we came out behind Zhou. It shouldn’t have happened. If we came out in front of Zhou, with the pace he had he would have got Tsunoda I’m pretty sure, so that’s really frustrating.

“I think the good thing is we are performing out on the track, that’s why it’s so frustrating that we should have had P10," he continued. "Then other people will see that we are a proper race team now.

"Our best chance to attract good drivers is through the on-track sporting stuff, so that’s what we’re trying to do," hinting that Haas are actively reaching out to interested parties - although Komatsu was giving nothing away.

“I can’t, that would be very unfair to the people I am talking to,” he insisted. “You wouldn’t be happy if you were talking to me in confidence and I said I’m talking to you about something!”

The team's next chance to show off its significantly improved form this year will be in Monaco with Komatsu looking forward to his first visit to F1's most famous venue since taking over as team boss from Guenther Steiner.

Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team on the grid.
19.05.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, Race Day.
-, EMail: © Copyright: Staley / XPB Images

“I’m looking forward to Monaco," he said in the team preview. “It's enjoyable because it’s a totally different challenge to any other race track. It’s unique. It’s what makes Monaco unique and we’re all looking forward to it.”

“It’s the best track on the calendar to drive," agreed Magnussen. "It’s just phenomenal on these little tight streets with walls everywhere. The feeling of driving a F1 car in Monaco, to me, is the best of the year.

I love Monaco, it’s my favorite race," he said. "The Monaco GP is a part of the triple crown, one of those races where if you win that, it’s extra special. Having driven around there it's so special, so I hope it stays on the calendar.

"We know there’s no overtaking in the race, so it does feel now with all these other races where overtaking is pretty good and racing is pretty good, that it is a bit of a weird one because there’s so little.

"At other races, you’re doing laps to explore different techniques, you’ve found the limit quickly. In Monaco you’re just getting closer and closer to the limit. As it’s a track that’s really being used, it’s got so much track evolution.

“Monaco is where all the partying that’s going on is pretty visible. At other races the parties are happening in clubs in the city. In Monaco they’re happening on the track in Rascasse and people are spilling drinks on the track!"

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