How Haas went from also-rans to challenging for points

    Haas has dramatically improved in recent races. Formula 1’s only American team scored points with both cars in Austria before Nico Hulkenberg drove to sixth place for the second race in a row at Silverstone.

    It has moved up to seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship, just four points behind RB in sixth at the midpoint of the season.

    Haas endured a stuttering start to 2024, failing to score at the season opener in Bahrain before taking points from three of the next four races.

    The American team is much more assured under the leadership of team principal Ayao Komatsu than the fiery Guenther Steiner.

    Under Steiner, the team was often chaotic. It failed to control the relationship between its two drivers and was regularly rooted to the foot of the timesheets.

    Komatsu’s approach is much more measured. He does not make any brash comments in the media and utilizes his engineering background to assist with strategy calls during the race.

    Steiner, who left the team at the end of last year, was very much the opposite, as the team made little progress during his tenure.

    Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen represent an experienced and quick driver lineup capable of regularly scoring points.

    Haas no longer suffers from inexperienced drivers such as Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher in 2021, who grappled with a lackluster car.

    The American team has capitalized on Sauber struggling operationally and Alpine taking a sizable step backward.

    It could be able to challenge Aston Martin as the fifth-fastest team in Formula 1, which itself hasn’t been able to compete at the front in 2024.

    Haas is going in the right direction, and with Ferrari junior Ollie Bearman joining the team next season to replace Sauber-bound Nico Hulkenberg, it has a top young talent readily available.

    The key decision will be whether to choose his teammate, Magnussen, to retain his seat or an outsider, potentially Frenchman Esteban Ocon, to partner with Bearman.

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