Hulkenberg contacted Haas in summer after F1 interest "crept back"

Nico Hulkenberg reached out to Haas about a Formula 1 seat over the summer after his interest in making a comeback “crept back”, paving the way for his 2023 deal.

Hulkenberg contacted Haas in summer after F1 interest "crept back"
Listen to this article

Haas announced last Thursday that it had signed Hulkenberg for next year as Kevin Magnussen's teammate, replacing Mick Schumacher after two seasons.

It marks Hulkenberg's full-time return to F1 after three years away, the German having only made five stand-in appearances at races since losing his Renault seat at the end of 2019. He spent 2022 working as Aston Martin's reserve driver, deputising for Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Hulkenberg revealed that he called Haas team boss Gunther Steiner over the summer to say he would be interested in a seat after finding his interest in returning to F1 had grown.

"Obviously [after] '19 I was out and I was happy, I had some distance and some breather from it," said Hulkenberg.

"In 2021, nothing much happened, and even at the beginning of this year, I wasn't stressing or thinking about it too much.

"But then coming towards the summer, it somehow grew in me again. When I came and visited races, and saw the action and the excitement, I had the desire to come back.

"And then the discussions started."

Hulkenberg said that talks then got "more concrete and serious" over the last month as Haas weighed up its driver options, before ruling out retaining Schumacher or signing Antonio Giovinazzi. The deal with Hulkenberg was eventually signed last Wednesday.

Prior to his comeback interest growing again, Hulkenberg explained that he "wasn't too stressed" about returning to F1 full-time as he was "enjoying the life out of the driving seat."

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin AMR22, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin AMR22, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"It's much more relaxed, there's other benefits, but then it sort of crept back - the desire to come back on the grid, to go racing, to kick ass, to be in the driving seat. So there was no fear."

Hulkenberg will drive a Haas car for the first time on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi when he takes part in the post-season test before making his race debut for the team in Bahrain next March.

Although he has experience of the 2022 cars from the first two races of the year and in tyre testing since then, Hulkenberg thought it would take "a couple of runs to get up to speed, familiarise with the car and work from there."

Read Also:

He added: "The most important thing for tomorrow is just for me to get my head around F1 and especially this Haas car, to understand it, as it's a bit of a headstart for next year.

"Three days' pre-season testing is not a lot before the first event. So that's just for me a little teaser, to get a feel for this car and how the systems work, driver fit stuff, a lot of basics as well that you can already clear and get out of the way."

"You never know until it's signed, but I think the last month, it got more and more concrete and serious, and I was getting more optimistic and confident that we can agree a deal," Hulkenberg explained on Monday at the Yas Marina Circuit.

shares
comments

Related video

Who is driving in F1's post-season Abu Dhabi test?
Previous article

Who is driving in F1's post-season Abu Dhabi test?

Next article

Williams formally confirms Sargeant in Formula 1 seat for 2023

Williams formally confirms Sargeant in Formula 1 seat for 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Prime

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Prime

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Prime

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? Luke Smith asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Prime

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Prime

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Prime

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 'holiday' races kept drivers busy through the winter Prime

When F1 'holiday' races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Prime

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week, and though it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted more just why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action.

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023