No “unrealistic optimism” under new Haas leadership – Magnussen

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen says the team will not have any “unrealistic optimism” heading into the 2024 season compared with some previous years.

Over the last three seasons, Haas have finished tenth and last in the constructors’ championship twice, in 2021 and 2023, and eighth in 2022.

Long-time team principal Guenther Steiner’s contract was not renewed by team owner Gene Haas in January. Ayao Komatsu has taken over, and Magnussen says expectations for the team are “being managed quite well this year.”

“I think in some years there has been some unrealistic optimism going into seasons and I’ve been affected by it as well,” Magnussen said.

“Certainly, Ayao is very clear that he doesn’t think we’ve moved out of last year’s position yet but he’s clear in that he sees the development trajectory looking a lot stronger, so he’s actually optimistic that we can move forward through this year.

“The entire field is so close together and I think last year we completely ran into a wall in terms of development. We couldn’t really break that barrier until we shifted the concept, and this year is looking a lot better. Expectations are low to begin with but high for the season as a whole.”

Magnussen believes Komatsu’s promotion to team principal will lead to a change of culture within the team.

“I have a good relationship with Ayao,” Magnussen said. “He’s been with the team for eight years, since the beginning in 2016, so I’ve worked very closely with him ever since I came to Haas in 2017.

“It’s been a big change in our team, of course, becoming team principal. Ayao is an engineer, and he has a reasonable amount of engineering experience with a Formula 1 team, and getting into that mindset at the helm of the team is going to be very interesting. I think it’s going to change the dynamic and communication across the whole organisation.”

Team mate Nico Hulkenberg, who drove the team’s new VF-24 for the first time at a shakedown at Silverstone on Wednesday, wants to see the team make a step up from their disappointing 2023 season, when problems with excessive tyre wear over the course of stints ruined many races.

“Hopefully, the car will be a bit better with the limitations that we found last year,” said Hulkenberg. “You naturally want to do better than the previous year, that’s normal.

“We did have a difficult year last year, so we definitely want to improve – especially the race weakness we had last year – that was something we need to and want to get on top of. I’ve seen the new car, it does look better, it is an evolution.

“We managed to clean up some things but at this point of the year, like every year, you’re a bit in the dark as to where you are and where you’re going to rank, so we just need to keep our heads down, keep working hard, and stay focused.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Formula 1

Browse all Formula 1 articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

5 comments on “No “unrealistic optimism” under new Haas leadership – Magnussen”

  1. So your realistic pessimism is better than Andretti’s (possibly yes, possibly not) unrealistic optimism? Thank you Haas for bringing such good value to F1. When Minardi’s performance and Mercedes’ charisma unite…

  2. No optimism.

  3. I hope Kevin Magnussen has a GREAT season.

    Every man and his dog wants him gone from F1 saying that he had a bad year last year and is past it.

    I don’t know how many prospective drivers were going to get three tenth places in Grand Prix in that car last year. I don’t know why so many people, want a driver who’s never been in a top team but always fought hard and has been to hell and back with the Haas team, are so keen to see him gone.

    1. Because I would rather see an exciting driver in a back marker than a middling veteran of eight seasons with nothing noteworthy to his name, honestly speaking.

      He’s not suddenly going to start being great in his ninth season. If there is one certainty this season. It’s that Magnussen is just going to be there for 24 races. Why would anyone get excited for that?

  4. A tax cheat instead of a great racing name brand … Makes ya wonder about F1.

    The only way Mercedes owned the field was because Toto & Merc set up a deal for F1, and were able to use the current ‘political climate’ to install their own formula of racing. So I would just say, money does not make a team compelling or competitive, it only corrodes the foundation of honesty. Guys like Haas and Toto need to leave and open the doors for outfits that need to race, and are not looking for investment opportunity. Investors should turn their eye to fleecing commoners and stealing people’s lands and stay away from F1.

Comments are closed.