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Grosjean excited for Haas’ new leadership under ‘good friend’ Komatsu

The former Haas F1 driver has a long history with the American outfit's new Team Principal

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Former F1 driver Romain Grosjean is looking forward to seeing Haas F1 Team being led by newly-appointed boss Ayao Komatsu.

Romain Grosjean chats with Ayao Komatsu | Formula 1 photos | ESPN.co.uk
Grosjean and Komatsu moved together from Lotus to Haas back in 2016 (Image Credit: Sutton Motorsport Images)

The Japanese engineer replaced the outgoing Guenther Steiner as the American outfit’s Team Principal earlier this week. In a shock announcement, Steiner was unceremoniously kicked out of the team he started up, by none other than fellow co-founder Gene Haas.

This swiftly followed the dismissal of Technical Director Simone Resta, who is believed to have disagreed with management on the direction of vehicle development.

Rumours of a rift between Steiner and Haas have been circulating, despite the latter’s insistence that the team’s lack of positive results was not “Guenther’s fault”.

With some serious changes needed to catapult Haas F1 Team further up the grid in the upcoming 2024 season, Komatsu has been promoted from Director of Engineering to “fundamentally have engineering at the heart” of the outfit’s competitive future.

Grosjean reveals thoughts on Komatsu’s appointment

Grosjean drove for Haas F1 between 2016 and 2020, during which time Komatsu was the Trackside Engineering Director for the same outfit. But the pair’s relationship extends much further back in time.

The duo first worked together in 2009, when Komatsu was the French driver’s performance engineer at Renault. The Japanese became Grosjean’s race engineer when the same team rebranded to Lotus-Renault, and moved to Haas together when the team entered the Formula 1 World Championship in 2016.

Speaking to IndyCar Series media, Grosjean reflected on Komatsu’s sudden appointment. He said: “Yeah, I saw the news as most of us. “I’m very happy for Komatsu. First of all, he’s a very good friend of mine.”

“His kids are the same age as my kids, so we’ve been very good friends, and I’m excited for him. It’s a huge challenge in front of him, so I’m excited for him.”

When asked whether he knew of any reason behind Steiner’s removal as Team Principal, Grosjean replied: “I don’t know what happened. I don’t know more details than you do, but I wish Guenther all the best in his next chapter. He’s definitely a man that’s got a lot of ideas and things to do.”

“But for me the main thing is very happy for Ayao.”

The opening race of the 2024 World Championship commences on March 2nd at the Bahrain International Circuit. Can Komatsu steer Haas F1 away from the bottom of the Standings?

Feature Image Credit: Andy Hone / LAT Images

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