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Komatsu reveals area where Haas ‘weren’t functioning as a team’ in previous seasons

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Recently-appointed Haas team boss Ayao Komatsu has shared how the operation were losing out through “big communication issues” when he stepped into the role, with his priority being to get their factories working together more efficiently.

Haas have a unique set-up in F1, with their overall headquarters located in the United States, alongside a sister NASCAR entry, a design office in Italy, next to long-time partner Ferrari’s facilities, and a factory in the UK for core operations between races.

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Speaking to F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast, Komatsu was asked about his main area of focus since Haas’s winter management reshuffle, which not only involved him replacing Guenther Steiner, but also saw Technical Director Simone Resta depart for Mercedes.

“At the moment, putting upgrades on the car,” Komatsu said of his priorities. “But to start off with, with a factory in the UK, a factory in Italy, mainly between UK and Italy, we weren’t functioning as a team properly – big communication issues.

“In Italy, you have a design office and an aero department, so they basically design the car. The UK facility is the race team, race engineering and all the functionality to analyse the performance of the car. Those two groups need to work together, but that wasn’t happening.

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“That still is my main focus, to get these two facilities to work together. It’s clear to me that we’ve got talented people scattered around but it wasn’t really given a proper framework to work together.”

Komatsu was then pushed on whether he feels a multi-factory set-up is a sustainable approach in F1, arguing that while it is not “100% ideal”, it can work well with strong relationships and effective communication.

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“Even though it’s not ideal in terms of Italy facilities and UK facilities, I can still see so many things we can improve to make it work,” he continued. “So far, what’s been happening over the last couple of months proves that we can do a lot better.

“At the moment, I haven’t hit the ceiling of, ‘This is the limit of how we set up and we need to think about how to do it differently now’. Once you get to know people really well, remote working, even if it’s not 100% ideal, it’s fine.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 06: Haas F1 Team Principal Ayao Komatsu waves to the crowd after qualifying

Komatsu is enjoying his time as Team Principal at Haas so far

“You’ve got to have that foundation of relationship, respect for each other, understanding of each other, which we are building. I do feel this year we’re working much, much better.”

In general, Komatsu is thrilled with how Haas staff have responded to him being appointed as Team Principal, saying he has been “overwhelmed” by the support received during his tenure so far – which has yielded four points from four races to put Haas seventh in the constructors’ standings.

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“I’m just very happy with the reaction I got from everyone in the team,” he said. “When this news was announced, I went to talk with our managers and everybody in the team, did as many one-to-ones as possible. I started trying to sit down, talk with them honestly and transparently.

“Ninety per cent of people see this as an opportunity to improve and we are all aligned in the sense of how we want to improve this team, how we want to go about it. I’m just overwhelmed by the positive support I’ve got. I’m very, very grateful about that.”

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