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Kevin Magnussen

Magnussen discusses Haas life post-Steiner

Kevin Magnussen has been getting used to life at Haas under new Team Principal Ayao Komatsu.

Magnussen Bahrain test
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To news overview © XPBimages

With Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari, Andretti's F1 rejection and the current investigation into Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, it's easy to forget that it was Haas who added the initial spice to the winter break.

In the opening weeks of 2024, it was announced that Guenther Steiner had left Haas as their Team Principal, a position he'd held since the side entered F1 back in 2016. Steiner played a crucial role in Haas even getting a place on the grid.

The Drive to Survive superstar left the American outfit following the end of his contract, which concluded at the end of 2023. Steiner was a unique character with a personality like no other, something which saw him become one of the stars of the hit Netflix docuseries.

To replace Steiner, team owner Gene Haas has decided to go for a completely different approach, by promoting Ayao Komatsu from his position as the side's Trackside Engineering Director. Engineers taking on Team Principal jobs is an increasing trend, which Haas has jumped on.

Komatsu isn't a "commercial guy" like Steiner but is an expert when it comes to making a car perform, something Haas are in dire need of. They finished last in the Constructors' Championship last season, an unwanted feat they need to avoid in 2024.

Pre-season testing last week was, obviously, the side's first under new leadership and there are already signs of at least an improved car. Whilst one-lap pace wasn't great, Haas completed the most laps across the entire test, as they looked to address their 2023 issue of the VF-23 eating its tyres.

Haas 'dynamics' changing

It's a positive start for Komatsu, with Kevin Magnussen being pleased with how things have gone so far since Steiner's departure.

"Well it's still early days, of course, but I think just having someone at the head of the organisation who is an engineer, he's going to look at things differently with a different set of eyes," Magnussen told select media including RacingNews365.

"And I think, you know, a Formula 1 team consists of mainly technical people, mainly engineers, and, you know, they will have someone at the helm of this organisation, who was an engineer who understands the processes, and the technical side, in a much deeper level.

"So I think we're gonna see a change in the dynamics in the team, and the structure of the team over the coming years. Guenther, obviously had his strengths as well. And, you know, Ayao is not at all a commercial guy. But I'm not too worried about that part, I just want a fast car. So at the moment it's been pretty positive."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix