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Haas’ VF-24 “Consistent” and “Predictable” According to Komatsu

“Last year’s car was inconsistent, it was quite nasty,” Komatsu said....

Perpetual backmarkers, Haas, are trying to improve their lot. The problem is that so are the rest of the grid and considering just how far behind Haas are relatively speaking, it’s a herculean task. So it’s no surprise that new team principal, Ayao Komatsu, is happy that the VF-24 is simply a more consistent car than last year.

“Last year’s car was inconsistent, it was quite nasty,” Komatsu said. “Depending on the conditions – tyre condition, wind condition, or track temperature – the car really wasn’t behaving in a predictable manner.

“Whereas this year’s car is behaving in a predictable manner. It’s consistent. Yes, we are still lacking downforce, especially in high-speed and sort of balancing medium/low-speed characteristics, but I don’t think it’s got nasty characteristics.”

He added that Haas are too far into development to fix everything with the car, but instead have chosen specifically to improve their race pace.

“There is no point in qualifying in P7 and going backwards on Sunday,” Komatsu explained. “I’d rather qualify P14 but have a car we can race and get up to the top 10. That’s our objective.”

Komatsu told RacingNews365 that he needs “a competitive car that will make our current drivers feel they want to stay.” Komatsu believes that two experienced drivers like Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg are invaluable to the team if they want to improve their standings.

“The three days [of pre-season testing] proved they are [a good pairing],” he said. “Their feedback was essential, with both driving pretty well, so I’m pleased about that.

“Last year’s car was very different. As a foundation, it wasn’t good enough, especially for Kevin. It did not make him look good and he has bags of talent.

“Nico is brilliant qualifier – he has to improve his race tyre management but part of that was the car.

“For Kevin, the fundamentals of the car didn’t suit him, so we really couldn’t get the best out of both drivers. The only bit we got the best out of was Nico’s qualifying.

“With this year’s car, with what we’re doing, I think they can show more to the world what they can do. They are completely engaged, an integral part of it, motivated, which is good to see.”

Haas seem motivated despite former team principal, Guenther Steiner’s, departure. Whether this will translate to on-track gains is anyone’s guess but it is unlikely. The VF-24 was developed under Steiner, and while Komatsu was the technical director, he didn’t get final say on development. No matter his involvement, 2024 is going to be a difficult year for Komatsu.

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