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We assess all the new principals joining the F1 paddock in 2024

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new f1 principals 2024, formula 1

Whether it’s regulations, drivers or the team’s leadership positions, each year immense change occurs throughout Formula 1. This season is no different — three new F1 principals joining the paddock.

As the 2024 racing season approaches, there has been a seismic shift in the Formula 1 world, with several teams undergoing major leadership changes. While the nature of these changes differs from team to team, the central theme is the desire for success; whatever that looks like in a Max Verstappen-dominated world.

F1 teams are some of the most valuable in the sports world, meaning it comes as no surprise that team principals are among the highest-paid individuals in the sport, like Christian Horner and Toto Wolff. With this comes pressure to perform. When success evades teams, some portion of the blame falls on the team principal.

As we brace for the 2024 F1 season, there are three new principles on the Formula 1 circuit to get to know.

Who are the new F1 Principals in 2024?

Ayao Komatsu – Haas

Formula 1’s leadership shake-ups began with the departure of the extremely affable Haas team principal Guenther Steiner, an immensely popular figure throughout the sport due to his prominent role in Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ series.

In a recent announcement that rumbled through the paddock, Gene Haas, owner of the Haas F1 team, cited performance issues as the reason behind not renewing the American’s contract.

“Here we are in our eighth year, over 160 races, we have never had a podium. The last couple of years, we’ve been 10th or ninth,” Haas told Formula1.com.

The team has not seen promising results in recent times, finishing at the bottom of the constructor’s standings in 2023, accruing just 12 points all season. Steiner’s replacement, Ayao Komatsu, faces the formidable task of filling his predecessor’s shoes, who has been the face of Haas for the last decade.

Speaking on Komatsu’s appointment, Haas stressed the importance of the American outfit being ‘consistent in delivering results that help us reach our wider as an organisation.’

“We need to be efficient with the resources we have but improving our design and engineering capability is key to our success as a team.”

The change reflects a broader trend in the F1 sector, where management and performance are intricately tied, and the pressure to deliver is immense. Adding to this tumultuous period is the apprehension surrounding Haas’s technical direction, with technical director Simone Resta departing his role in January.

Bruno Famin – Alpine

In July 2023, the French outfit confirmed team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, and sporting director, Alan Permane, would part with the team mid-season. The change meant Bruno Famin, vice president of Alpine Motorsports, assumed the role of interim team principal.

With Alpine reportedly in no rush to fill the position in August 2023 and the 2024 F1 season fast approaching, it appears Famin is likely to continue filling the role of team principal for the foreseeable future.

It appears Famin is likely to continue filling the role for the foreseeable future. In a recent explosive interview, Sznafnauer revealed he was hired with the expectation of receiving 100 races to turn the team’s fortunes around only to have his position terminated one-third of the way through.

Perhaps that won’t inspire confidence in Famin. What will instil belief is the presence of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, two of F1’s most talented drivers. Together, the pair collected 120 points last season as the team finished sixth, with Gasly even standing on the podium at the Dutch Grand Prix.

However, worryingly for the French outfit, both Gasly and Ocon are reportedly unhappy with their situation at Alpine. With their contracts up at the end of 2024, this F1 season could prove momentous for the direction of Alpine. Some might argue it’s a baptism of fire for Famin.

Laurent Mekies – AlphaTauri

After 18 years at AlphaTauri, formerly known as Torro Rosso’s, team principal, monumental motorsport figure Franz Tost stood down at the end of the 2023 season. Having played a key role in the development of Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly, Tost’s presence and expertise will be sorely missed by the team.

His replacement, Laurent Mekies, is an astute, experienced operator who’s previously served as both sporting and race director at Ferrari, as well as at F1’s governing body as a deputy race director.

Mekie is no stranger to AlphaTauri, having begun his F1 career at the team, then known as Minardi, back in 2002. When Minardi became Torro Rosso, a part of the Red Bull Racing team, Mekies hung around, becoming chief engineer and then head of vehicle performance before his departure in 2014.

Daniel Ricciardo, F1 principal, formula 1
Daniel Ricciardo’s return to AlphaTauri was one of the story’s of the 2023 F1 season

AlphauTauri finished the 2023 F1 season eighth in the Constructors Championship having collected 25 points. In 2024 the team will benefit from Daniel Ricciardo racing behind the wheel from the first race of the season.

After replacing Nyck De Vries midway through the 2023 season, eight-time race winner Ricciardo finished seventh place, the team’s highest position throughout the campaign.

The checkered flag for the 2024 season’s first race is yet to be waved, but even before engines roar and rubber burns, the starting grid has experienced a dramatic reshuffling that promises a year of unprecedented developments both on and off the track.

Kyle Robbins
Kyle Robbins
Kyle is a senior sports writer and producer at Only Sports who lives and breathes sport, with a particular burning passion for everything soccer, rugby league, and cricket. You’ll most commonly find him getting overly hopeful about the Bulldogs and Chelsea’s prospects. Find Kyle on LinkedIn.

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