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Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, SpainTuesday 1 March 2016.Gunther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1. and Ayao Komatsu, Chief Race Engineer, Haas F1. World Copyright: Andy Hone/LAT Photographicref: Digital Image _ONZ8533

Steiner replaced by Komatsu as Haas F1 team principal

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, SpainTuesday 1 March 2016.Gunther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1. and Ayao Komatsu, Chief Race Engineer, Haas F1. World Copyright: Andy Hone/LAT Photographicref: Digital Image _ONZ8533

Netflix favourite Guenther Steiner is no longer Haas F1 Team boss, Ayao Komatsu has replaced him with immediate effect according to the team.

Steiner gained huge popularity for his foul-mouthed tirades as he headed Haas F1 Team just as ‘Drive to Survive’ boomed and turned him into an unlikely superstar of the series. He can be credited for keeping the Gene Haas-owned team afloat and going, albeit as a perennial backmarker, when the American lost interest.

His handling of Mick Schumacher’s career was criticised by this author and was frowned upon on the German side of the paddock. But his ‘Netflix’ stature seemed to make him untouchable.

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Until now of course. This was not an expected turn of events and suggests there has been a fallout of sorts (not confirmed) that led to Komatsu’s appointment to the TP post and Steiner gone with immediate effect.

The press release below does not have a quote from Steiner. Instead, Gene Haas delivered this one-liner: “I’d like to start by extending my thanks to Guenther Steiner for all his hard work over the past decade and I wish him well for the future.”

Kevin Magnussen wrote on Twitter: “Thanks, Günther. Thanks for taking me on the journey in 2017 and thanks for bringing me on board again in 2022. It has been both fun and tremendously challenging – but never boring. So long and all the best.”

Haas F1 Team released the following statement:

Haas F1 Team appointed Ayao Komatsu as its new Team Principal with Guenther Steiner departing the organization with immediate effect, having led its operations for the past decade. Komatsu, promoted from his role as Director of Engineering, has been with the team since its debut season in 2016, starting as Chief Race Engineer.

With over 20 years of F1 experience, both in engineering and management, the 47-year-old Japanese engineering graduate commenced his career in motorsport at British American Racing before a long tenure at Renault. Komatsu will now oversee all competition elements of the business as Team Principal.

Komatsu will take responsibility for the team’s overall strategy, and ultimately on-track performance, with a brief to maximize the team’s potential through employee empowerment and structural process and efficiency.

To further strengthen team operations off-track, and in support of Komatsu’s performance-led focus as Team Principal, a European-based Chief Operating Officer will be appointed to manage all non-competition matters and departments, the role expected to be based at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s Banbury facility.

Gene Haas, Team Owner at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team commented: “I’d like to start by extending my thanks to Guenther Steiner for all his hard work over the past decade and I wish him well for the future. Moving forward as an organization it was clear we need to improve our on-track performances. In appointing Ayao Komatsu as Team Principal we fundamentally have engineering at the heart of our management.”

Haas continued; “We have had some successes, but we need to be consistent in delivering results that help us reach our wider goals as an organization. We need to be efficient with the resources we have but improving our design and engineering capability is key to our success as a team.

“I’m looking forward to working with Ayao and fundamentally ensuring that we maximize our potential – this truly reflects my desire to compete properly in F1.”

Ayao Komatsu, newly-appointed Team Principal of MoneyGram Haas F1 Team stated: “I’m naturally very excited to have the opportunity to be Team Principal at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team. Having been with the team since its track-debut back in 2016 I’m obviously passionately invested in its success in Formula 1. I’m looking forward to leading our program and the various competitive operations internally to ensure we can build a structure that produces improved on-track performances.”

“We are a performance-based business,” Komatsu continued. “We obviously haven’t been competitive enough recently which has been a source of frustration for us all. We have amazing support from Gene and our various partners, and we want to mirror their enthusiasm with an improved on-track product. We have a great team of people across Kannapolis, Banbury and Maranello and together I know we can achieve the kind of results we’re capable of.”

The 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship commences with pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit from February 21-23, with the season-opener – the Bahrain Grand Prix, taking place at the same venue from February 29 – March 2.