Hulkenberg’s hiring by Haas to replace the crash-prone Mick Schumacher in late 2022 reignited an F1 career that had appeared over when Hulkenberg was dropped by the team then called Renault (now Alpine) in favour of Esteban Ocon for 2020.
He has performed well in the qualifying rounds for Haas, participating in six Q3 sessions in 2023 and securing a third-place qualification in Canada. However, he was penalized for a red-flag violation during that session. This is a more frequent occurrence compared to his teammate Kevin Magnussen, who has only achieved one Q3 result.
However, Haas has primarily excelled in qualifying this season, achieving impressive results. They have faced challenges during races due to issues with tire wear, which are worsened by the loss of downforce when running in a group.
Hulkenberg only has nine points compared to Magnussen’s two, and Haas is currently in eighth place in the constructors’ championship.
When questioned by Motorsport.com about the level of satisfaction he derives from the disparity in results, Hulkenberg responded, “We continue to strive and put in the effort.”
“When I agreed to join and began my journey here, I was aware that it wouldn’t be all smooth sailing. There will definitely be challenging times and a lot of work awaiting us.”
Alex Albon, Williams Racing, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, in Parc Ferme
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
During Sundays, whether it’s during the race or immediately after, there is a certain level of frustration and disappointment. This feeling is not exclusive to me, but shared by the entire team. We are all invested in the outcome. After a successful Saturday, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation, particularly from external sources.
“I believe we have been aware for a few months now that the Sunday problems are currently too significant to effectively handle the team’s expectations.”
“But it continues to bring me joy. I still relish being back immensely, and the benefits outweigh any challenges on Sundays.”
When asked if he was satisfied with his decision to return to full-time racing after filling in as a substitute for Racing Point/Aston Martin in five F1 races during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hulkenberg responded positively, stating, “Absolutely – without a doubt.”
Hulkenberg said the feeling of the VF-23’s traffic racing problem was “actually very simple” behind the wheel.
“It’s simply a decrease in traction,” he remarked. “And when you completely lose traction, not just in one specific region or on one axle, you begin to slide more.”
Sliding generates heat, increases tire wear, and creates a harmful cycle.
However, in the opposite manner. This is the explanation for our challenging Sundays – as I believe we experience more hardships compared to our primary rivals.
However, in terms of the car’s design and construction, it excels at quickly adapting to different types of tires, resulting in a favorable performance during qualifying sessions.
However, during the race, it has a tendency to excessively strain the tire when you are required to complete exceptionally lengthy periods, resulting in suboptimal performance.