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Ayao Komatsu

Haas detail crucial opportunity Imola will offer

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu is looking to the return of the traditional F1 weekend format at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to properly access upgrades introduced in China and Miami.

Komatsu
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Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu has detailed how the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will be a prime opportunity to assess its upgrades.

The American team introduced updates to the Haas in both Shanghai and Miami, but as both were sprint weekends, it did not have the opportunity to run the original car against the new spec for a direct comparison.

Nico Hulkenberg scored a point in the Chinese Grand Prix and followed that performance up with two more in the sprint in Florida. However, Kevin Magnussen's defensive tactics, which aided the latter finish, took attention away from any improvements seen by Haas through car development.

Now that the usual weekend format is back for the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Komatsu is hoping to get a better read on where the team's car is on pace, as there will be the conventional three practice sessions as opposed to just one.

"When we come to Imola, non-sprint weekend, we'll do a proper back-to-back test," Komatsu told media including RacingNews365 in China. 

"We've been developing the car aggressively - I think that's the key, if we were to be able to fight at that point, just on the fringe of points, or even better - we've got to be able to put performance on the car, which is something we haven't proven yet. So, that's what we are focused on."

'Bad news is better know sooner rather than later'

In the first three rounds of the season, Haas scored over half its current points tally of seven. In the subsequent three events, including the Chinese Grand Prix, team has taken just three points even though two were sprint weekends.

However, due to the format, Imola was always going to be the first benchmark to access the team's progress, with Komatsu contending that it will afford him the opportunity to judge the direction of development.

The objective for him will be to find out "sooner rather than later" if Haas has taken a wrong turn, with the 44-year-old explaining it is for that reason that the team has been aggressive with upgrades.

"I'm keen to really access it properly in Imola, to see if what we've been working is really going in the right direction. Are we getting what we're supposed to, or not?" he said.

"If it's a negative case, still, bad news is better to know sooner rather than later, right. That's why we've been developing aggressively, and hopefully, we can prove that what we've been doing is right.

"But worst case, if we prove that what we've been doing is not right, we've still got the chance to rectify for the mid-season."

When asked by RacingNews365 how long the team could continue that level of development, Komastu replied: "At the moment, we haven't fully defined it yet, but at the moment we go up to mid-season," before budget constraints and preparation for 2025 takes precedence.

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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