Gene Haas ready to splash cash?: New era for smallest F1 team looms

In an optimistic turn of events for the Haas Formula 1 team, it appears that a much-needed financial boost is on the horizon, a move that many critics have been clamouring for.

Following a shake-up over the winter that saw the departure of long-standing team principal Gunther Steiner amid investment disputes with owner Gene Haas, the team seems poised for a new chapter. Ralf Schumacher, the former F1 driver, voiced concerns on Sky Deutschland, saying, “The structure there is not geared towards the future and is not looking towards the future either. Investments are pending, but they are not being made because Gene Haas has other ideas,” he observed. “It’s currently a nice small team for newcomers like Oliver Bearman.”

Counteracting these sentiments, Ayao Komatsu, who has stepped in for the sacked Steiner, conveyed a message of renewed financial commitment from Gene Haas. Speaking to Ekstra Bladet newspaper, the Japanese engineer revealed, “Gene’s message to me from day one was crystal clear. He said he has the money, he is willing to invest, but we need to show him that we can use that money responsibly and efficiently. There’s a reason he’s a billionaire, right? He hates wasting money,” Komatsu elaborated. “We can improve in many areas, so I was not worried about his message. I know for sure that he will invest when we get there.”

Komatsu also disclosed Haas’s approval for significant capital outlays, including funding for a new ‘motorhome’ for the team’s use at European races. “He has already authorised a new motorhome for next year, and it is no small investment. We are also actively recruiting – a quite considerable number based on our size has been approved,” he stated.

This shift in investment strategy hints at a possible reluctance from Haas to allocate more funds during Steiner’s tenure, perhaps due to suboptimal financial decisions. Komatsu shared, “Gene said to spend the money more wisely, so I’m trying to do that. It is step by step. Nothing happens in a day. But both Gene and his right-hand man are very involved and supportive. The new number of people may not be large for Mercedes, but it is quite large for us. We have to win back the trust, if you will,” he concluded.

Komatsu is currently focusing on maximizing the efficiency and development of the team’s current resources, with an understanding that any increase in team size will need time to manifest results. “But even if we increase the number of people now, it will take six months before they start,” he noted. “Right now I’m just focused on what we have, on being efficient and on developing the car in the right way.”

GMM

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