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Ayao Komatsu

Haas explain stance on unfolding F1 driver market

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu has shared his thoughts on the F1 driver market, saying he expects signings to be wrapped up for the 2025 season as early as the end of May - this comes amid speculation that current Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg will join Stake F1 at the end of the year.

Komatsu Hulkenberg
To news overview © XPBimages

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu has detailed how he thinks the F1 driver market will develop over the coming weeks.

The 48-year-old believes a proactive approach is needed to navigate the market, otherwise teams risk missing out on its driver targets.

When asked by RacingNews365 at the Chinese Grand Prix how quickly he felt he had to move, Komatsu zeroed in on one specific team as driving forward the market, but did not explicitly mention its identity.

“There’s obviously one team who’s really pushing to get this driver market moving quickly, right?" he replied.

Whilst he did not provide a name, speculation of Nico Hulkenberg's impending departure from Haas for Stake F1 might suggest Audi was the target of Komatsu's comment, before he added: "It’s difficult to say. It’s within the next two months, I think. By the end of May, I think most drivers will be signed up [for next season]. That’s my expectation.”

'You have to be proactive'

When pressed by RacingNews365 as to whether that included Haas' two drivers for next season, Komatsu implied it was, highlighting the need to move fast.

“That’s the market, isn’t it. If you don’t do anything in that time, everybody else is signed up," he said.

“Of course, everybody is active at this minute, but the exact timing? Honestly, some drivers it could be this week, next week. Some could be in the European stage [of the season]."

The Japanese engineer also confirmed he was having an active role in driver negotiations, despite having only been in the team principal role for a matter of months, taking over from Guenther Steiner at the beginning of the year.

“I am proactive. You have to be proactive in these instances. If you’re not proactive, you just lose out," he responded when asked how much of a role he takes in those discussions.

"You’ve got to be aware of the market, you’ve got to do the best you can. I’m trying to do the best I can with all the help I can get.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

'I know what we need'

The former-Haas trackside engineering director stated that despite his new role being a departure from his background, he was relishing having an active role in those conversations.

"Of course," he said when asked if he was enjoying that aspect of the team principal position, with it then being highlighted how different it is to his technical background.

"Yeah, but at the same time, in terms of with my technical background, I know what kind of we need," he explained.

"Especially if you look at how team, how we are, what kind of capability we’ve got, or we haven’t got – that defines what kind of driver we need, and what kind of combination of drivers we need.

"So, from that side, I think our objective target is reasonably clear."

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