‘Hulkenberg needs to hit the ground running’

Total-Motorsport.com take a closer look at what to expect from Haas ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season

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Haas enter their eighth season in Formula 1 with a driver line-up few could have expected a few years ago as Nico Hulkenberg returns to the championship to partner Kevin Magnussen.

Since losing his seat at Renault, Hulkenberg has been used as a substitute driver in 2020 and 2022 at Racing Point and Aston Martin when Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel tested positive for coronavirus.

The German replaces Mick Schumacher, who is Mercedes and McLaren‘s reserve driver. Hulkenberg has not had the best relationship with Magnussen during the pair’s career with the pair sharing a heated exchange after the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Total-Motorsport.com journalists Adam Dickinson, Andrew Wright, Ed Spencer and Nigel Chiu take a look at what to expect from Haas in 2023.

Ed Spencer: Hulkenberg needs to hit the ground running

Considering the hideous off-season Haas endured last year, a single point and survival would have been as good as a victory for the team. 

Eighth in the constructors’ championship, a shock pole position for Magnussen in Brazil was a fine reward for Gunether Steiner’s slick outfit, but now Haas will be expected to go one better.

New signing Hulkenberg needs to hit the ground running as he returns to a full-time drive after some time away, and with the German against the ever-improving Magnussen, the pressure will be on.

Haas will also be keen to secure further backing from Ferrari, so another step forward in 2023 may help the team on their way.

Andrew Wright: A struggle this year

As always, I hope Haas exceed my expectations but I’m not confident. The 2021 season was supposedly written off to prepare for 2022 and it only yielded 37 points. That’s simply not good enough.

I expect 2023 to follow a similar pattern, even though the team now boasts a pretty formidable driver line-up with the signing of Hulkenberg to partner Magnussen. There will be the odd bright spot but the American outfit will yet again struggle to a lowly finish, probably ninth or tenth.

Kevin Magnussen and Guenther Steiner at 2022 Brazilian GP | LAT Images/Haas F1 Team

Nigel Chiu: Start strong before fading away

The general theme with Haas since they joined F1 in 2016 is, start off the season well and get outdeveloped by the other midfield teams, so I expect no different this year.

For me, Schumacher was very unfortunate to lose his seat for this year and should have been given another chance. Hulkenberg must beat Magnussen, who was arguably not as strong as Schumacher in the latter stages of 2022.

If there is not much to separate the pair, I would say that the drivers are not getting the full potential from the car so I’m really not sure about Haas in 2023.

Adam Dickinson: Haas shouldn’t lack consistency

The opposite of the team they beat to eighth by two points in 2022 (AlphaTauri), Haas shouldn’t be lacking in consistency. I can see a double-edged sword where they take another step forward in performance from 2022, but are outgained by Aston Martin and AlphaTauri so stay around level with their 2023 finish.

Unfortunately it may be another year battling with Alfa Romeo and Williams at the back of the grid but in Hulkenberg and Magnussen, Haas have, arguably, the strongest lineup of that group, plus AlphaTauri which could make the difference between a couple of places in the constructors’ championship.

Don’t rule out Hulk finally getting his podium either.

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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