Ayao Komatsu

Ayao Komatsu




Date of birth:

January 28, 1976

Country of birth:


Team principal since:

January 10, 2024

Ayao Komatsu has been the team boss at Haas since 2024. Born in Tokyo, Japan, he took over the reins from Günther Steiner. From a young age, he knew he wanted to enter the world of Formula 1. That dream has now become a reality. With his new responsibility at Haas, Komatsu takes the next step in his Formula 1 career.

The Journey to Formula 1

Komatsu has been working in Formula 1 for twenty years. However, the road to his dream job was long. He started as an intern at the car brand Lotus, where he also voluntarily ran a Formula 3 car in a class for overage cars. As a Japanese citizen, he couldn’t get a work permit in England, so he decided to continue his studies. Alongside his PhD program, he worked as a mechanic for a touring car team associated with the university and local drivers. There he met Takuma Sato, a fellow countryman and a driver. Together with Sato, he was first introduced to the world of Formula 1.

In 2003, Ayao Komatsu joined BAR Honda, focusing on tires during the ‘tire war’ between Michelin and Bridgestone. After a period of three years, he joined Renault. There, he evolved from a performance engineer to a race engineer, and later even to a chief race engineer. The team was taken over and renamed Lotus in those 10 years, but Komatsu remained loyal to the Enstone team.

In 2012, Romain Grosjean made his debut at the Lotus team. Komatsu built a special bond with the French driver. After a small hint from Grosjean, Komatsu knocked on Haas’s door. In 2016, the Japanese, along with the Frenchman, moved to Gene Haas’s team. He continued in the same role as chief race engineer.

A New Team

Haas had a good start. In the first two years, they even drove to an eighth place in the constructors’ championship twice. However, it became increasingly difficult afterwards. At the end of 2018, they closed the field. In the following seasons, the team failed to develop and remained in the background in the championship. After the disappointing season in 2023, CEO Gene Haas decided to take a new path with Komatsu as team boss.

The newly appointed team boss wants to do things differently than his predecessor. He previously stated that he will not be a ‘new Günther Steiner’. Together with drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg, the team aims to improve on the past years. “Gene wants to improve the team, let’s do it together,” Komatsu said.

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