Haas investing already after strong start – Komatsu – RACER

Ayao Komatsu says Haas team owner Gene Haas is already increasing his investment in the team as it looks to continue a strong start to the 2024 season at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Komatsu’s predecessor as team principal, Guenther Steiner, left over the winter and pointed to a lack of investment in the team’s infrastructure as one of the areas of disagreement that led to his departure. In being announced as a Miami Grand Prix ambassador last week, Steiner stated Haas is performing well with what it has this year but does “not have a vision for the next step.” However, Komatsu — who took over as team principal in January –says he has already seen further commitments from the team owner.

“I got appointed officially on January 10th, and Gene’s message from day one was absolutely clear,” Komatsu said. “He said he’s got money, he will invest it, but we’ve got to show him we can use the money responsibly and efficiently. He doesn’t want to see waste. There’s a reason he’s a billionaire — he doesn’t like to waste money!

“There’s so many areas that we can improve, so that’s why I wasn’t too worried about his initial message of, ‘Come on, you guys, need to show me you are using my money responsibility, then get to a certain position, then I’ll think about investment.’ But I know for a fact that he will invest when we get to that stage.

“Already he’s commissioned a new motorhome for next year — which is not a small investment — so we are doing that. And also we are now recruiting, for our size of people, a decent chunk of new recruitment has been approved. So 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’ve got to do our part, which is to use his money responsibility.”

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Komatsu admits car performance had no impact on some aspects of the additional investment, but other areas have continued as he is able to show he is spending Haas’ budget in an efficient way.

“No, the motorhome was already approved before we ran the car,” Komatsu admitted, off the back of point-scoring finishes in two of the first three races. “Gene just said to me ‘You’ve got to use this money more wisely,’ so that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s just step-by-step — nothing happens overnight, but Gene and his right-hand man are very engaged and very supportive.

“Honestly, this new recruitment helps. The number of people is quite big for our size of team. It might not be for Mercedes, but they approved everything. So we are just slowly trying to get the trust back, if you like.”

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