The Haas Formula 1 team has officially confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg will replace Mick Schumacher on the team in 2023.
Schumacher, who is the son of former seven-time world champion Michael, has had a rocky F1 career so far, with his flashes of pace blighted by a series of heavy crashes.
The German who entered the sport in 2021 as the reigning F2 champion faced a tough rookie campaign with Haas abandoning its development on its Haas VF-21 car, choosing instead to focus on their 2022 car.
This meant Schumacher and fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin were largely rooted to the back of the grid and failed to score any points.
While 2022 has proven to be better for Schumacher, the German is currently 16th in the championship with a best result of sixth in Austria, he has largely been outperformed by teammate Kevin Magnussen.
Eventually, Haas decided to go with the experience of Hulkenberg who has deputized for the likes of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel over the past two seasons.
Schumacher determined to return to F1
While he will most likely miss out on a seat in 2023, the German took to social media to reiterate his desire to return to the pinnacle of motor racing.
“This is going to be my last race with Haas F1 Team,” Schumacher shared on social media.
“I don’t want to hide the fact that I am very disappointed about the decision not to renew our contract.
“Nevertheless, I would like to thank both Haas F1 and Ferrari for giving me this opportunity.
“Those years together have helped me to mature both technically and personally. And especially when things got difficult, I realised how much I love this sport.
“It was at times bumpy but I steadily improved, learned a lot and now know for sure that I deserve a place in Formula 1. The subject is anything but closed for me. Setbacks only make you stronger.
“My fire burns for Formula 1 and I will fight hard to return to the starting grid.”
Haas thank Schumacher for contribution
While it was an open secret that Haas was looking to replace the young German, team boss Gunther Steiner still thanked him for his contributions over the past two years.
“I would like to thank Mick Schumacher for his contribution to the team over the past couple of years,” Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner stated.
“Mick’s pedigree in the junior categories was well known and he has continued to grow and develop as a driver in his time with Haas F1 Team – culminating in his first Formula 1 points-scoring successes earlier this season.
“While choosing to go in separate directions for the future, the entire team wishes Mick well for the next steps in his career path and beyond.”
Steiner excited about Hulkenberg’s experience
The Haas team boss also cited Hukenberg’s experience and knowledge as something that would propel the team forward and stated that he looked forward to working with him.
“I’m naturally very pleased to be welcoming Nico Hulkenberg back to a full-time racing role in Formula 1,” Steiner said in an official press statement.
“The experience and knowledge base Nico brings to the team is clear to see – with nearly 200 career starts in Formula 1 – and a reputation as being a great qualifier and a solid, reliable racer.
“These are attributes, which when you pair them together with Kevin Magnussen’s experience, gives us a very credible and well-seasoned driver line-up which we believe will help push the team onwards up the grid.
“That’s obviously the goal and it was that ambition that has prompted Nico’s return to Formula 1 – he shares our vision and can be a key player together with the rest of the team in building on the foundations we’ve laid this year with our return to the points battle.”
Hulkenberg feels like he never left
While Hulkenberg officially left the sport at the end of 2019, he has found himself playing the role of a substitute over the past three seasons.
Apart from filling in for Stroll and Vettel and German also briefly replaced Sergio Perez in 2020, when the Mexican tested positive for COVID.
“I’m very happy to move into a full-time race seat with Haas F1 Team in 2023. I feel like I never really left Formula 1,” Hulkenberg added.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to do what I love the most again and want to thank Gene Haas and Günther Steiner for their trust.
“We have work ahead of us to be able to compete with all the other teams in the midfield, and I cannot wait to join that battle again.”