Haas boss denies early ’smokescreen’ of ’bulls**t’

"On paper it just looked like we had very little time"


6 April 2024 - 13:04
Haas boss denies early 'smokescreen

Ayao Komatsu has hit back at claims that his expectation that the Haas team could remain dead last in 2024 was always "bulls**t".

The criticism came from the Japanese’s long-time predecessor Gunther Steiner, who recently accused Komatsu of putting up a "smokescreen" of zero expectations for 2024.

"They downplayed (expectations) to have an excuse at the beginning," Steiner is quoted as having said by Ekstra Bladet newspaper. "To me, it was the wrong thing to do.

"The team and Simone Resta did well, because the car was already made last year before I left. The car was already assembled. I kept telling Gene Haas where they would be, because I knew the numbers from the wind tunnel," he added.

However, Komatsu hit back, claiming that setting the expectations low for 2024 was just him being "honest".

"On paper it just looked like we had very little time," he said at Suzuka. "Because last year was a bit messy in terms of going back and forth between the development of last year’s car and this year’s car.

"There was no reason to believe that we would start like this. We had a feeling that we had improved the car, but relative to everyone else, we thought they had made more progress. It wasn’t bulls**t or putting up smokescreens.

"Of course I knew our numbers too," Komatsu added. "But how could I know if it would be P7, P8, P9 or P10 without knowing the numbers of the others?

"We are the smallest, right?" he continued. "Could we have predicted Alpine doing what they did? You, you can’t trust others to fool themselves.

"But also internally, I didn’t want my people to see the car in Bahrain and be depressed if we were last. The internal message was ’this is where we start, and from here we improve’.

"When we talk about how the car creates downforce, it is actually very different from what the wind tunnel said. This is a problem in itself, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Could I have predicted it? No way.

"After a few days of winter testing, I expected that we could fight with two or three other teams. "But I only knew that when we had seen the car on the track."

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