Haas team owner Gene Haas has confirmed that Guenther Steiner's departure from the Formula 1 squad was down to team performance.
After 10 years at the helm of the Kannapolis-based outfit, Steiner's exit was confirmed earlier this week.
Haas joined the F1 grid in 2016 and reached a high in the Constructors' Championship in its third year, concluding the season fifth in the standings.
However, the last number of seasons has marked a difficult period for the team, as it finished at the root of the championship twice in the last three seasons.
On the eve of the 2024 campaign, Haas made the decision to make a leadership change and brought Steiner's tenure with the team to an end.
“It came down to performance,” Haas told Formula1.com.
“Here we are in our eighth year, over 160 races – we have never had a podium. The last couple of years, we’ve been 10th or ninth.
“I’m not sitting here saying it’s Guenther’s fault, or anything like that, but it just seems like this was an appropriate time to make a change and try a different direction, because it doesn’t seem like continuing with what we had is really going to work.”
Promoting from within
In Steiner's place arrives Ayao Komatsu, who has been promoted from his Director of Engineering position.
Komatsu has also played an integral role in Haas' F1 journey to date, having been part of the squad since its debut year in 2016.
“We looked from within, at who had most experience,” Haas stated. “Ayao has been with the team since day one, he knows the ins and outs of it.
“My biggest concern is when we go to Bahrain, we need to show up with a car that is ready to go. Maybe having more of a managerial-type and engineering approach, we’ll see if that has benefits.
“I think Guenther had more of a human-type approach to everything with people and the way he interacted with people, he was very good at that.
“Ayao is very technical, he looks at things based on statistics – this is what we’re doing bad, where can we do better. It’s a different approach.
“We really do need something different because we weren’t really doing that well. Like I said, it all comes down to eight years in, dead last. Nothing more I can say on that.”