MoneyGram Haas F1 Team has appointed Ayao Komatsu as its new Team Principal with Guenther Steiner departing the organization with immediate effect, having led its operations for the past decade.
Steiner has led the team since the American squad entered F1 in 2016, and he was F1’s third longest-serving team principal, behind Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Mercedes’ Toto Wolff. However, the Italian has now left Formula One's sole American team with Ayao Komatsu having been promoted as Team Principal.
The Japanese engineer has been with the team since its debut season in 2016 – starting as Chief Race Engineer. The 47-year-old engineer has most recently worked as Director of Engineering at the Haas squad
With over 20 years of Formula 1 experience, both in engineering and management – the 47-year-old Japanese engineering graduate commenced his career in motorsport at British American Racing before a long tenure at Renault.
Komatsu will now oversee all competition elements of the business as Team Principal. He will take responsibility for the team’s overall strategy, and ultimately on-track performance, with a brief to maximize the team’s potential through employee empowerment and structural process and efficiency.
To further strengthen team operations off-track, and in support of Komatsu’s performance-led focus as Team Principal, a European-based Chief Operating Officer will be appointed to manage all non-competition matters and departments, the role expected to be based at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s Banbury facility.
Furthermore, Haas technical director Simone Resta has also left the Formula 1 squad. He previously worked at Scuderia Ferrari from 2001 to 2018, and from 2019 to 2020, as a senior design engineer, head of the R&D department, deputy chief design director and from 2014 to 2018, as Chief Designer.
In 2018, Resta spent a short stint as Alfa Romeo technical director before returning to Ferrari in the following year. The Imola-born engineer moved to Haas F1 Team for the 2021 Formula One season, as part of a tightening in the technological relationship between Haas and Ferrari.
“I’d like to start by extending my thanks to Guenther Steiner for all his hard work over the past decade and I wish him well for the future,” commented Gene Haas, Team Owner at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team. “Moving forward as an organization it was clear we need to improve our on-track performances. In appointing Ayao Komatsu as Team Principal we fundamentally have engineering at the heart of our management.”
Haas continued: “We have had some successes, but we need to be consistent in delivering results that help us reach our wider goals as an organization. We need to be efficient with the resources we have but improving our design and engineering capability is key to our success as a team. I’m looking forward to working with Ayao and fundamentally ensuring that we maximize our potential – this truly reflects my desire to compete properly in Formula 1.”
“I’m naturally very excited to have the opportunity to be Team Principal at MoneyGram Haas F1 Team,” stated Ayao Komatsu, newly-appointed Team Principal of MoneyGram Haas F1 Team. “Having been with the team since its track-debut back in 2016 I’m obviously passionately invested in its success in Formula 1. I’m looking forward to leading our program and the various competitive operations internally to ensure we can build a structure that produces improved on-track performances.”
“We are a performance-based business,” Komatsu continued. “We obviously haven’t been competitive enough recently which has been a source of frustration for us all. We have amazing support from Gene and our various partners, and we want to mirror their enthusiasm with an improved on-track product. We have a great team of people across Kannapolis, Banbury and Maranello and together I know we can achieve the kind of results we’re capable of.”