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Haas reveals plans to increase staff and bridge gap to rivals

A series of strong results to start 2024 have put Haas in a very strong position, reflected both in the standings and by public opinion. Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen both secured points early in this year’s campaign. The question for Ayao Komatsu’s squad is whether their limited resources will cost them later in the season.

On paper, mid-season development in F1 is harder than ever. The budget cap greatly limits the resources teams can invest in introducing updates to their car.

As evidenced last season by Ferrari and Mercedes, mistakes in winter development are very hard to recover from. In this sense, updates introduced during race weekends largely continue the work done over winter.

However, this has not been enough to end a worrying trend at Haas. It is not uncommon for the American outfit to regress as a year progresses and rivals improve.

To a large extent, this pattern is characterised by limited finances and infrastructure. Even with big-hitters like Red Bull and Ferrari spending significantly less than the pre-budget cap era, Haas is still operating at a deficit.

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How Haas plan to climb the field

When appointed team principal earlier this year, Ayao Komatsu was forced to contend with this weakness.

Aware of the team’s relatively limited resources, the 48-year-old is working to bridge the gap:

“That’s where we are. We have less than 300 people,” he told the media in Australia.

“The team with the second-fewest [Sauber] has more than twice as many [personnel].

“We are constantly increasing the numbers of employees, but that doesn’t happen overnight.”

Despite these positive indications, the fact remains that Haas is unlikely to equal – or even come close – to the personnel at rival teams.

The big-hitters at the front are in another league entirely, whilst smaller outfits like Sauber and Williams still enjoy a sizable advantage.

However, operating with fewer resources is hardly something new at Haas. As evidenced by their impressive start to 2024, they are capable of outperforming rivals despite limited firepower.

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Of course, this can only go so far. The American outfit is unlikely to compete with Ferrari or Red Bull for Championships any time soon.

Still, incremental changes can still improve the US squad’s chances. In his pre-season Q&A with Haas, Ayao Komatsu emphasised the team will “have a much better chance of upgrading the car properly this year.”

The Japanese engineer’s approach involves a combination of staff recruitment and – also of critical importance – changing the “organisational structure on the operational side.”

At this stage, it is too early to declare whether Komatsu’s changes will be successful. That said, there is no denying that Haas F1 are in a very different place than they were twelve months ago.

Moreover, with next year’s cars largely a continuation from this season, a strong package this season could also translate into a competitive season in 2025.


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