Ayao Komatsu, Haas, 2023

Haas have ‘much better chance of upgrading properly’ during 2024

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In the round-up: Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu is confident the team’s in-season development will be better this season.

In brief

Komatsu confident of better Haas upgrades

Haas are now better placed to produce more effective upgrades for their car this season, believes new team principal Ayao Komatsu.

The team unveiled their 2024 car yesterday. Haas have struggled with in-season development in recent seasons but Komatsu says the team have already made changes to the technical team to help improve their upgrades.

“If you look at the organisational structure previously, there isn’t a clear path to close the loop on that side,” Komatsu said.

“Everything that’s found trackside, there’s now a closed loop going into the aero, wind tunnel and CFD departments. Now, at least even if there’s a disagreement, everyone is clear about why we’re developing the car in a certain way. That’s one key reason as to why we haven’t been able to put upgrades on the car and fall back in the season. We’re now already working in that way and there’s much better transparency, openness, and communication. Therefore, I believe we have a much better chance of upgrading the car properly this year.”

De Vries loses sponsorship lawsuit

Formula E racer and former F1 driver Nyck de Vries has lost a lawsuit over a €250,000 (£213,600) loan by an investment company, Investrand.

A sponsorship deal between the two parties was struck during his time in Formula 2, with an agreement that the group would receive 50% of his income as a Formula 1 driver should he become one by the end of 2022.

Despite arguing that his one-off appearance for Williams in that year’s Italian Grand Prix was as a reserve and test driver and not a race driver, the court found De Vries would have to repay the loan and provide half of his earnings as an AlphaTauri driver to the group .

McLaren reveal Bustamante’s livery

McLaren have revealed the livery that Bianca Bustamante will race in for her F1 Academy campaign this year.

Bustamante will compete in the season season of the all-women championship in 2024 with ART. She finished seventh after two race victories and two more podium appearances last year.

All ten teams are supporting at least one driver in the championship for this season, with each driver chosen allowed to run in the colours of their connected team.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said that his team were “pleased to have Bianca involved in the McLaren Driver Development programme and we’re looking forward to seeing her compete in F1 Academy this season.”

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Comment of the day

With Mercedes needing a replacement for Lewis Hamilton in 2025, Tristan makes a case for Mick Schumacher…

I’d probably choose Mick Schumacher for two years, go all-in on George Russell for 2026, then judge from there. If the car is good they will be able to have free-pick if the competition is close and they need to find someone better than Russell as a number one.

I think a lot of drivers will be keeping options open for 2027 and trying to work their way into whatever teams are at the top. I think the worst choice right now would be to introduce someone that will unsettle Russell’s confidence and fight with him, they should be able to focus on the car for 2026 and enjoy a more settled dynamic.

That way Schumacher would also get more of a fair chance to deliver. It’s never right to see a driver dismissed after not performing with a terrible car. Held together by duct tape, the Haas was in those years.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Brawngp!

On this day in motorsport

  • 50 years ago today Emerson Fittipaldi won a non-championship race in Brasilia. The race was named after Brazil’s authoritarian president Medici, who worked to overthrow the democratically-elected government in 1964 and had his political opponents imprisoned and tortured.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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27 comments on “Haas have ‘much better chance of upgrading properly’ during 2024”

  1. How much are local taxes in Milton Keynes? Could be a deal-breaker.

    1. Gavin Campbell
      5th February 2024, 17:22


      but in reality its probably between you, your accountant and god. :P

  2. You’re applying to become an F1 team and you don’t ensure communications from F1 aren’t going to spam? I don’t think that’s the excellent defense Andretti thinks it is.

    Akin to dog eating homework, really.

    1. Pretty much my thoughts. This smacks of two parties with next to zero communication between them. One lost email and that results in them missing a potentially critical meeting in the application process? No one picked up the phone and talked to the other side in the weeks and months prior to this? Sorry, but Andretti were the ones wanting to join, so the onus was on them to push for it, and this excuse of a spam filter is amateur hour.

      1. And if Andretti had pestered FOM? Do you think that would have helped their cause? This wasn’t a job interview – FOM knew Andretti were waiting for a response because FOM told them to wait for one.
        If FOM are running the process, it is entirely their responsibility to make contact when they require it.
        Only after multiple (methods of) attempts can they truly say that they tried to no avail and then use that in their rejection report.
        Let’s face it, it’s not hard to find a contact number and address for someone – anyone – in the Andretti organisation. Especially not when you say you’re from FOM, making contact in regard to the F1 entry procedure.

        That it ended up in a spam folder only suggests that FOM were most likely not using any official email account for this – and certainly not one that Andretti had already had contact through. It could easily have been a fake sent by anyone.
        Not exactly unheard of these days, is it…

      2. It is not the most impressive story for sure, but at the same time it was FOM inviting them, and nobody there thought, ‘hey, we haven’t heard from those Americans, maybe we should give them a call?’

        I mean, these are serious business meetings involving hundreds of millions of dollars. People call to check up on dentist appointments… it’s a bit silly on both sides.

        1. fom are not serious, and Andretti should keep that in mind. maybe creating a racing series that has faster cars than f1 is the better response. of course the FIA would never sanction such a thing, and would certainly attempt to blacklist them at every corner, but seriously, the fia is a branding company, not a serious rules based organization. its a bad joke and soon enough there will only be sprint races with electric cars.

          1. Yeah, this seems like one of those ‘accidental’ last minute invites that ‘unfortunately’ meant the party that nobody wanted to be there couldn’t show up. Bit juvenile for such big businesses.

            But it’s one more arrow in Andretti’s legal quiver; FOM is really going out of its way to make it clear they’re not acting in good faith.

          2. Gavin Campbell
            5th February 2024, 17:33

            Great idea – now you’d need someone to finance it.

            We’re talkin’ nation state, evil trillionaire level cash. Unless the Saudi’s get ticked off with liberty media – not happening.

            Lets be honest Andretti were going to come in and try and run it similar to Haas. They’ve never really explained where they were going to get all the money from – not least to pay $200m to enter, plus 2 or 3 years of development, plus tooling up. Napkin maths thats around $1 billion and not much in the way of recouping it – if you do it properly. They got GM on board, but after the fact they reckoned they could finance this on their own somehow.

      3. @S Well, it seems clear that FOM were just going through the formalities and never had any serious intention of letting Andretti in, so from that point of view you can say ‘it doesn’t matter’. But Andretti were the ones who wanted in. The onus was on them to make the most attractive bid they possibly could, and failing to see an email invite shouldn’t have deterred them from pursuing every other avenue to contact them.

        They should have been proactive and been offering FOM opportunities to visit their facilities, meet their key personal, see their business plan etc. They had to prove their value to FOM and make it as hard as possible for them to say no. If they really tried all that and FOM ignored them, then that borders on corruption and malicious intent from FOM and they could potentially be open to lawsuits. But from the fact that FOM claim they never got a response to their proposal, it doesn’t seem like Andretti did everything they could.

    2. I think it represents two failures, both from Andretti and F1. F1 will know that occasionally their emails go into spam folders, and matters of this importance really should have a level of secondary follow up (I think most people in a professional context will do this).

      A phone number, a Whatsapp exchange, something. They obviously communicated enough with Andretti to facilitate an assessment of the application. If this was one singular email, and there was no follow up communication at all it doesn’t reflect well on F1. We’re talking multi-billionaire pound enterprises here.

      1. Exactly, Alan.

        When I am trying to make an important meeting, I usually contact the other parties first to find out about availability etc and check back when i don’t get an answer to my mail to invite them too.

    3. you don’t ensure communications from F1 aren’t going to spam?

      Maybe F1 used an email or domain which they didn’t expect?

    4. On the other hand, If you really WANT to talk to the team as FOM, would your only communication be 1 email and not maybe have someone call up and ask “hey we sent you an email, we really would like to plan a meeting, and haven’t heard back, did you receive our mail and do you agree to the proposed time and place?”

      1. or a Return Receipt

        1. yeah, although many IT systems auto remove those for safety purposes anyway

  3. ‘Formula One’s invitation to Andretti Cadillac for an in-person meeting about its application to join the motorsports series was sent via email and landed in a spam folder, which is why Michael Andretti and General Motors representatives never answered the request.’

    Sounds pretty extraordinary to me that entry into F1 apparently relies entirely on one (1) and only one (1) email at any point in the process. Nobody in FOM thought to make a phone call or send a paper letter in the post? It’s a pretty major thing, isn’t it…?
    “Nah – they ignored our one (1) email that we sent from a different account, so clearly they don’t want to be in F1 after all.”

    Of course, Andretti were never going to get approval anyway, but using a single missed meeting invitation as a justification for rejection is truly pathetic.

  4. So Vienna has become the second city to feature the F1 Exhibition.
    Hopefully, at some point it’d be in a city or region I’m going to visit anyway, if not even residence region.

  5. Checking that actual, legitimate emails aren’t lost in the spam folder is part of daily routine of almost all professionals. Using this as an excuse(publicly over media) is something indicates a level of rank amateurism from the person involved and an organisation with the size and presence like Andretti.

    And I am one of the fans/followers who really wanted to see new teams on the grid.

    1. I’ve followed up on emails I’ve sent in case they went into spam (I think most people who’ve worked in a professional context has). On matters as valuable as F1 I wouldn’t rely on a single email to state that an offer of a meeting was made. I would follow up and have at least a phone number or some other communication method (phone number, Whatsapp, shared acquaintances etc…). Doesn’t reflect well on F1 either. It’s a simple “Did they get back to me?”. if the answer is no I’d follow up, without fail. For F1 to not, and this is what is suggested, is a bit strange.

    2. daily routine of almost all professionals. Using this as an excuse(publicly over media) is something indicates a level of rank amateurism

      Call me non-professional or even an amateur, but I don’t check my SPAM folder, and don’t expect my staff to do so. They are not hired, and too expensive, to check SPAM folders.
      It’s the senders responsibility to make sure the message was received; there are various easy ways to do that.

      We (IT) only check SPAM folders only ever so often to make sure the SPAM filter still works the way we want it to.
      And many emails are even stopped before they reach the mailbox, and thus don’t even make it to the SPAM folder.

  6. COTD – you have a very short memory. Mick was mediocre at best and he got a good crack of the whip (it’s not like he was booted out after half a season). Merc is absolutely looking for the best of the best, they’re not looking for a stop gap solution – I wouldn’t be surprised if they try and get Alonso. Even if sainz ends up there, it will feel like they’ve “settled”.

    1. Depends, they only need the best of the best if they think they don’t already have it in Russell. If they go for an Alonso or Norris I’d see it as a vote of no confidence.

      1. Agreed. One comment that followed yours yesterday was that they can take their time, and that’s what Toto indicated. They may not say this, but it will allow them to see how Russell does with the full team behind him and measure him against Lewis, who is one of the best benchmarks to have. The driver they need for the second car depends on Russell. Ideally, he can step up with consistency and race pace so they only need a number two, or can chance a novice. Sainz and Russell have shown themselves to be above average, but they don’t need two such drivers and Sainz is not someone who will let someone past if ordered to do so.

    2. Mick made significant progress between his first and second F2 seasons. He was never really given a decent car that he could learn from at Haas, so I think any judgement of his ability isn’t going to come from the fans.

      Mercedes has a very nice simulator, and I’m sure they’ve put him through his paces– if he shows an ability to keep the car on the track reliably, then they can do some testing with him during the season.

      Or, in simpler terms, as he’s the reserve driver at Mercedes, I’m sure they’ll at least consider him.

  7. That is a bad day for Nyck. To lose half of whatever he earned at Alpha Tauri (obviously he wasn’t there for long) and repay the loan. That one drive for Williams might have cost him more than he has. F1 has chewed up and spat out many drivers in its time, but I could understand if Nyck looks back on the 10 months after his stand in drive to getting fired as being something of a low period in his career, even if he was in F1.

  8. I like Komatsu’s Do More with Less / Can-Do attitude. Hopefully it bears fruit with respect to his personal F1 journey.

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