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Formula 1 Chinese GP

Komatsu: Gene Haas still keen to invest in F1 team if money not wasted

Haas F1 team principal Ayao Komatsu says Gene Haas remains keen to invest in his Formula 1 team, providing that this money is not wasted.

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, talks to the media

After four podium-less seasons during which Haas scored just 52 points in total, team principal Guenther Steiner and technical director Simone Resta left the squad last winter.

The former was replaced by ex-trackside engineering director Komatsu while the latter's position was taken over by Andrea de Zordo, who used to be the outfit's chief engineer.

These decisions were made amid team founder and owner Gene Haas' frustration with the latest poor run of results, while outgoing boss Steiner lamented a lack of investment.

Although these developments cast doubt on the outfit's future, Komatsu says Gene Haas has reaffirmed his commitment and remains keen to invest in the outfit, with a new motorhome on the way, while the squad is also hiring new members.

"I got appointed officially on 10 January, right? Gene's message from day one was absolutely clear: he said he's got money, he is ready to invest it," the Japanese said. "But we've got to show him we can use the money responsibly, efficiently.

"He doesn't want to see the waste. There's a reason he's a billionaire, right? He doesn't like to waste money, right?

"So when I looked at it, then there's so many areas we can improve. So that's why I wasn't too worried about his initial message: 'Come on, you guys need to show me you are using my money responsibly, then get to a certain position, then I think about the investment'.

"But I know for a fact that he'll really invest when we get to that stage. And already he's commissioned a new motorhome for next year, which is not a small investment. So we are doing that.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, Gene Haas, Owner and Founder, Haas F1 Team

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, Gene Haas, Owner and Founder, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"And also we are now recruiting reasonably – from our size of people, a decent chunk of new recruitments is approved. So yes, Gene is now actioning what he told me. So I'm not worried that he's not going to invest. He will invest. But we got to do our part, which is to use his money responsibly."

Komatsu added that he was "just trying to get [Haas'] trust back". He also clarified that the investment into a new motorhome had been agreed before the encouraging start to the 2024 season, a sign that Gene's commitment had not wavered.

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Currently holding seventh place in the constructors' championship, Haas will however struggle to maintain that level against the likes of RB, Williams, Sauber and Alpine.

Komatsu said the American team would "absolutely" be outpaced in the upgrade race and would focus on swiftly introducing quality parts rather than on quantity, as it waits for new hires to join by the end of the year.

"Even if we increase the number of people right now, you know, before people joined, it's going to be another six months, right?" he said. "So we're really just focused on things we can control, which is what we got.

"How can we do it most efficiently? And then we try to, let's say, define the updates in a way that we can bring it early, sooner than later."

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