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Haas seeing team changes start to pay off

Gene Haas is hopeful that his team can consolidate its stronger position in Formula 1’s midfield after his decision to replace his team principal Guenther Steiner with Ayao Komatsu has been followed by a more competitive 2024 season.

Steiner’s contract was not renewed at the end of last year, with Komatsu being promoted into the role ahead of the new season. After finishing at the bottom of the constructors’ championship in two of the last three years, it’s been a stronger campaign so far for Haas, with the team seventh in the standings after back-to-back sixth places for Nico Hulkenberg, and the team owner wants to cement that level of competitiveness.

“We got to this step on the mountain and we need to stay here for a while, not go back down the mountain,” Haas (pictured above) told SiriusXM. “We have good pace — our car’s not as fast as we could be or should be, but it’s as fast as we can be right now to be mid-pack. So if we can just stay there we’ll be in good shape.

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“We’ll have some more upgrades coming during the year. The upgrades I think have been a lot more successful than in previous years, so hopefully that will keep us ahead of everybody else who we are racing.”

Haas says the decision to appoint a new team principal was an easy one despite Steiner having held the role since the team’s inception, saying the finishing positions had become tiresome.

“We did a lot of changes and the changes are working, so that’s good. It’s all good,” he said. “We had four years of almost being dead last, so that was enough to motivate me.”

The American was present in both Austria and Great Britain to see the pair of sixth-place finishes for Hulkenberg, and was pleased with the way his team took its opportunities, although he admitted it was bittersweet given that Hulkenberg will be leaving at the end of the season.

“It’s a good feeling. I think we kind of paced ourselves — right tire selections, right pit calls and everything else,” Haas said. “It’s all important — we didn’t make any mistakes.

“[Hulkenberg] gets every bit out of the car; we know that that’s about as fast as the car can go when he drives it. Things change, you just get used to it in racing.”

Story originally appeared on Racer