Formula 1: Haas replaces longtime team principal Guenther Steiner

Haas was last in the constructor's standings in 2023 for the second time in the past three seasons

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 24: Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner looks on in the Paddock during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 24, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
Guenther Steiner was the third-longest tenured team principal in Formula 1. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Haas F1 is making a leadership change.

The team announced Wednesday that team principal Guenther Steiner had been replaced by Ayao Komatsu. Steiner had been in charge of the American team since it entered Formula 1 in 2016, but Haas finished last in the constructor’s standings in 2023.

“Moving forward as an organization, it was clear we need to improve our on-track performances,” team owner Gene Haas said in a statement. “In appointing Ayao Komatsu as team principal, we fundamentally have engineering at the heart of our management.

“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.”

Komatsu has also been with Haas since the team began in Formula 1 and was previously the team’s director of engineering.

Steiner became one of the most popular non-driver figures in Formula 1 in recent years because of his candor during Netflix’s “Drive to Survive.” He was the third-longest tenured team principal behind Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.

Horner and Wolff are in charge of the teams that have won every constructor’s title since 2010. Haas hasn’t had close to that success since it entered F1. Haas scored just 12 points in 2023 and was four points out of ninth place. In 2022, Haas finished eighth in the constructor’s standings.

Haas’ best season came in 2018 when the team finished fifth in the standings and was less than 30 points behind Renault for fourth. Since then, the team finished ninth in back-to-back seasons, failed to score a point in 2021 and then finished eighth and 10th.

Despite the last-place finish in the constructor’s standings, Haas is staying with its same driver lineup for 2024. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg return for the team after neither finished in the top 15. Hulkenberg was 16th in the diver’s standings, while Magnussen was 19th. Williams’ Logan Sergeant — the only American driver in F1 — was the only full-time driver to score fewer points than Magnussen.