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Who is Ayao Komatsu? What you need to know about new Haas F1 boss

2 min read

The Haas Formula 1 team's new team principal Ayao Komatsu is yet another example of an F1 engineer moving up the career ladder to a senior management role - as he gets his first crack at running a grand prix racing outfit.


Japanese engineer Komatsu has replaced Haas's long-serving, distinctive team boss Guenther Steiner, who himself had been a mechanic and engineer before taking on F1 leadership roles.

Ayao Komatsu and Guenther Steiner, Haas, F1

Komatsu got his start in F1 in 2003. Having moved to England for his education, he graduated from Loughborough University and joined BAR - the Brackley-based team that eventually became what is now Mercedes, but which at the time served as Honda's sole engine customer/partner in F1.

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He then switched to Renault's Enstone-based operation for 2006, initially focusing on tyres - with F1 still in its 'tyre war' era at the time before its switch to a single supplier. Once that happened, Komatsu pivoted to a series of wider engineering roles.

Ayao Komatsu, Lotus, F1

As part of his 10-year stint at Renault, which eventually became Lotus, Komatsu served as race engineer for Vitaly Petrov and Romain Grosjean, before being promoted to chief race engineer.

Both Petrov and Grosjean were podium finishers under Komatsu's stewardship, but a win proved elusive.

Romain Grosjean and Ayao Komatsu, Lotus, F1

With Grosjean moving over to the newly-founded Haas team at the start of 2016, while Renault was taking over the Enstone operation again, Komatsu followed suit, serving as the team's head of trackside operations.

Komatsu's promotion represents continuity for Haas despite Steiner's departure. It is, in effect, a similar move to what McLaren had gone for in replacing Andreas Seidl with Andrea Stella - who had both been a race engineer and trackside chief - as team boss for 2023.

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