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Hulkenberg: Komatsu "fought", "gave everything" to keep me at Haas in F1 2025

Nico Hulkenberg says new Haas principal Ayao Komatsu “fought” and “gave everything” in his bid to keep him at the American Formula 1 team in 2025.

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

At the end of last month, Hulkenberg inked a new deal with Sauber to join the Swiss-based outfit next year ahead of its takeover by Audi, becoming the German manufacturer’s first factory signing for 2026.

This means his term with Haas will come to a close at the end of the current season, leaving the squad to look for a replacement, who will likely not have the same experience as the veteran German.

Hulkenberg has completed 10 full seasons in F1 since he made his debut with Williams in 2010, and his points-scoring finishes in Saudi Arabia, Australia and China have helped propel Haas to seventh in the standings.

Speaking about his departure, the 36-year-old sang praises for Komatsu and revealed the lengths the engineer-turned-team boss went to to retain him for next year.

“He's doing well. He was really thrown in at the deep end as the new team boss at the beginning of the year. Out of nowhere,” Hulkenberg said in reference to Komatsu’s surprise promotion following the team’s split with Guenther Steiner.

“In February, he had a driver's contract in his hands for the first time in his life. That's also special, and there are a few things you have to know and see first. 

“Up until the announcement, it was great working with him. Also in terms of coordination. I spoke to him openly about it a few weeks ago, that there was a good dynamic and that a decision would probably be made sooner rather than later. 

“He fought, he gave everything. 

“The decision wasn't a no-brainer for me. I've already given it some thought. 

“Haas is the team that made my comeback possible. But at the end of the day, the better sporting prospect for me personally is simply with Audi.”

Although Hulkenberg is moving to a rival outfit next year, he still expects to receive new updates from Haas at the same time as team-mate Kevin Magnussen through to the end of the season.

Asked if Magnussen could now have priority on new parts, he said: “I don't think so. I think it will continue to be fair and good. 

“The team and I both have a vested interest in finishing the season as well and successfully as possible. 

“We want to try and beat all the other midfield teams, and I don't think that's entirely unrealistic given the way things look today. We will continue to work as a team in the right direction.”

However, Hulkenberg understands that Haas wouldn’t want to keep him in the loop with the developments for next year after it begins to focus on developing the successor to the VF-24.

“Yes, definitely, at some point,” he said. “In two, three, four months, I think so.

“Next year, the cars won't really change radically. So there won't be any more super secrets to take away. I'm relaxed about that.”

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