Who is Ayao Komatsu? Haas F1’s new team principal

Guenther Steiner parted ways with Haas after nine years with the F1 team

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Ayao Komatsu, a highly skilled and experienced engineer in Formula 1, has been announced as the new team principal of the Haas F1 Team, replacing Guenther Steiner who was relieved of his position after poor on-track performances. 

Komatsu brings to the role a wealth of experience from his previous positions in the world of motorsports. He started his career in Formula 1 as a tyre engineer for British American Racing in 2003 and has worked with several teams over the years.

Throughout his career, Komatsu has been involved with the likes of the Lotus F1 Team and Renault F1 Team. His expertise and contributions in these roles have been significant in shaping his career path leading to his current position with Haas.

As the new team principal, Komatsu‘s extensive experience in engineering and technical aspects of Formula 1 racing will be invaluable for Haas. 

“I’m naturally very excited to have the opportunity to be Team Principal at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team,” stated Ayao Komatsu, upon his appointment. 

“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. 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.” 

Ayao Komatsu Chief Engineer and Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner during 2023 Japanese GP | Andy Hone / LAT Images

Komatsu’s F1 journey

Before joining the world of Formula 1, Ayao Komatsu embarked on a journey that began in his home country of Japan. He grew up in Tokyo and, after completing high school, moved to England in 1994 with a clear ambition to pursue a career in F1. 

Recognizing the significance of the UK in the motorsport world and the need to learn English, Komatsu enrolled in the Automotive Engineering course at Loughborough University.

Komatsu‘s foray into Formula 1 began in 2003 with British American Racing, where he worked as a tire engineer. His early career in this role was instrumental in developing his deep understanding of F1 car dynamics and race strategy.

Rising through the ranks in F1

After his initial stint with British American Racing, Komatsu joined the Honda Racing F1 Team. His tenure at Honda was marked by significant contributions to the team’s tire performance and overall car optimization strategies. This experience further enhanced his technical and strategic skills in the sport.

In 2009, Komatsu moved to Lotus, which later became the Renault. Here, he took on more prominent roles, overseeing various aspects of car performance and collaborating closely with drivers and other team engineers. His tenure at Lotus and Renault was a period of professional growth and recognition in the F1 community.

Ayao Komatsu Chief Engineer and Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner during 2023 Brazilian GP | Andy Hone / LAT Images

Joining Haas

Since joining Haas ahead of their first F1 season in 2016, Komatsu played a key role in its engineering department. Starting as the Chief Race Engineer, he was integral in developing the team’s competitive strategies and overseeing the technical aspects of car performance. 

His expertise in race strategy and understanding of F1 technology significantly contributed to the team’s initial successes and growth in the sport.

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