Nico Hulkenberg insists Haas has a “responsibility” to address a fundamental flaw with their 2023 car, as he continues to impress on his Formula 1 return, potentially securing a contract extension. Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen, the current driver for Haas, is struggling to match Hulkenberg’s pace and style.
Magnussen admits, “Nico is clearly able to get a lot more out of it in one lap. I’m pretty far behind him on a single lap. In the race, it’s closer, but the strengths of my driving style are working against me at the moment with the limitations of the car. The car has gotten better but it has gotten worse for my style. And the problem seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I’ve never experienced something like it before but I am sure we can fix it.”
For Hulkenberg, the issue is even more frustrating as he often qualifies well but struggles with excessive tire wear during the race. “It’s very frustrating as a driver, but you do what you can. As soon as we start pushing, the car starts to slide, and we destroy the tires,” he expresses.
The German racer believes it’s crucial for Haas’ engineers and aerodynamicists to step up their efforts. He points to McLaren’s transformation as a model they should follow: “We need a story like McLaren.
In Saudi, they were still behind us, and then they completely turned it around. They actually brought a B car, which has to be our role model.
“The engineers and aerodynamicists (at Haas) have a duty to find and do something,” the 35-year-old told Sky Deutschland.
Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, who has been a critic of Haas since his nephew Mick’s time with the team, agrees with Hulkenberg’s assessment.
He thinks the team boss should hold the team to the same standards as he does the drivers: “The drivers, or especially one driver, do great in qualifying, but the car just doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.
They can’t just blame everything on being a small team. You’re still in Formula 1 and you still want to improve. It’s clear that the car was good last year, and nothing has happened since then.”
In response, team boss Gunther Steiner acknowledges the need for improvement but points out that other teams are also making progress: “Many other teams are picking up the pace. We can’t at the moment, but we’re working on it.”
Schumacher praises Hulkenberg’s constructive criticism of Haas, considering it entirely justified and part of the game.
However, he suggests Hulkenberg should explore other options for his future as Haas seems to be stagnating while other teams show potential for growth. “Finding a new cockpit is not easy for Nico.
He has a bit of a reputation for being a perfect qualifier who can’t then exploit his potential in the race. That’s why he wants a good race car so much. I think he’s struggling a bit with the fact that he doesn’t have the opportunity to prove it,” Schumacher concludes.