Haas to bring first 2024 upgrades at Chinese GP

Jaden Diaz
04/04/2024

Haas will introduce their first upgrades of 2024 in China, bringing improvements to the VF-24 relatively early in the year. For a team whose mid-season development is typically a weakness, this is welcome news. It was only last season that Haas took until the seventeenth round of the campaign to bring new parts.

Ayao Komatsu arrived at Haas after a disappointing season for the team. Perhaps the biggest criticism of the US team was not their finishing position but their lack of progress across twenty-two rounds.

The only updates introduced to last year’s VF-23 were in COTA. These upgrades weren’t especially effective either, and Nico Hulkenberg soon reverted back to the old specification.

Understandably, this created plenty of scepticism surrounding the American squad. Ayao Komatsu’s pessimistic pre-season comments, suggesting Haas would begin 2024 at the back, did not help in this regard.

Luckily for the 48-year-old team principal, the first rounds of the year paint a far more optimistic picture. Haas are seventh in the standings with four hard-earned points, a solid start to their campaign. The VF-24 seems a step ahead of the rival cars at Williams, Alpine and Sauber.

Moving forward, the question is whether the team can sustain this impressive start throughout the season. Recent history suggests a mid-season decline is a real danger.

SUZUKA, JAPAN – APRIL 04: Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, (Photo by Mark Sutton / LAT Images)

Haas upgrades arriving ahead of schedule

Under Ayao Komatsu’s leadership, Haas is working to change the narrative. Earlier this week, the Japanese engineer communicated that improvements were arriving at the VF-24 ahead of schedule.

This has been confirmed by German outlet AMuS, revealing the team’s first updates will be fitted at the Chinese GP – round five of the season. Initially planned for Imola, these components will be fitted sooner than anticipated.

The only asterisk next to this development is that only one driver will have the upgraded version of the VF-24 in Shanghai. Only in the subsequent events will both drivers run this new specification.

Still, this is a clear change from the traditional story at Haas. The difference between introducing your first seasonal upgrades at round seventeen versus round five is night and day.

When appointed as Guenther Steiner’s replacement, Ayao Komatsu was tasked with improving the team’s efficiency. He made clear in his first interview as team boss that Haas was capable of an effective upgrade plan:

“We’re making changes to the organizational structure on the technical side to ensure that whatever we’re finding out on the track translates into car development,” Komatsu declared over winter.

As it stands, it seems fair to suggest that Haas is taking positive steps to address their deficiencies.

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