Haas F1 Team announced that veteran Nico Hülkenberg will be returning to Formula One competition on a full-time basis and compete for the Kannapolis-based organization for the 2023 season, where he will be replacing Mick Schumacher.
The announcement comes ahead of this weekend’s season-finale event at Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will conclude the 2022 FIA Formula World Championship season. It also comes after months of speculation and following a season-long struggle for Schumacher, who will compete for the organization for a final time this upcoming weekend.
“I’m very happy to move into a full-time race seat with Haas F1 Team in 2023,” Hülkenberg said. “I feel like I never really left Formula 1. 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.”
For Hülkenberg, the 35-year-old native from Emmerich, Germany, has made a total of 181 career starts in F1 competition, which commenced in 2010 when he competed for AT&T Williams. He last competed as a full-time F1 competitor in 2019, where he drove for the Renault F1 Team and finished in 14th place in the driver’s standings on a strength of 10 top-10 points-paying results and 37 recorded points.
After competing as an interim competitor for Racing Point in two Grand Prix events in 2020, Hülkenberg has since spent the previous two seasons as a reserve and development competitor for the Aston Martin F1 Team, which was rebranded from Racing Point. For this season, he replaced four-time champion Sebastian Vettel for the first two Grand Prix events in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia after Vettel tested positive for COVID-19. He finished 17th at Bahrain before rallying to finish 12th in Saudi Arabia.
While he has yet to achieve his maiden podium and victory in F1 competition, Hülkenberg has a single pole position to his resume, which was made during the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos Circuit, along with 43 laps led, 521 recorded points and an average-finishing result of 11.5 in 181 career starts. His best on-track result in F1 is fourth place, which he achieved during the 2012 Belgium Grand Prix, the 2013 Korean Grand Prix and the 2016 Belgium Grand Prix.
“I’m naturally very pleased to be welcoming Nico Hülkenberg back to a full-time racing role in Formula 1,” Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team, said. “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.”
Hülkenberg’s addition to Haas F1 Team will mark the conclusion of Schumacher’s two-year run in F1 competition that started in 2021, when he was hired to join the organization alongside newcomer Nikita Mazepin. By then, Schumacher, the son of seven-time F1 champion, Michael, had achieved the 2020 Formula 2 championship with Prema Racing. Despite recording an average-finishing result of 16.9 and finishing no higher than 12th place during his rookie season, Schumacher retained his seat at Haas for this season.
Throughout his second-year campaign in F1 competition, Schumacher struggled with maintaining on-track consistency and has had several incidents throughout the season that has cost Haas millions in damage repair. The low point was having to withdraw from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in March following a high-impact wreck during a qualifying session. He managed to record his maiden top-10 result of this season along with his maiden F1 points at Silverstone Circuit in July. He backed it up during the following Grand Prix event at the Red Bull Ring by finishing in a career-best sixth place. With an average-finishing result of 14.0 throughout the 2022 season, however, Schumacher is mired back in a tie for 16th place in the driver’s standings with Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda with 12 points.
“I would like to thank Mick Schumacher for his contribution to the team over the past couple of years,” Steiner added. “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.”
Following the news of his release, Schumacher took to social media to offer his statement and gratitude to Haas F1 while his future for next season remains uncertain.
For the 2023 F1 season, Hülkenberg will compete for Haas F1 Team alongside Kevin Magnussen, who will remain with the American organization as part of a multi-year basis. Magnussen, who reunited with Haas F1 following a one-year absence, is ranked in 13th place in the driver’s standings on the strength of six top-10 results and 25 points. He is also coming off his maiden pole position at Interlagos Circuit for the São Paulo Grand Prix.
Once the 2022 F1 season concludes, Hülkenberg’s work with Haas F1 Team will commence on November 22 by participating in an F1 test at Yas Marina Circuit, where he will drive the Haas’ VF-22 alongside Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas’ test and reserve competitor.
Entering this weekend’s season-finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit, Haas F1 Team are ranked in eighth place in the constructors’ standings with 37 points as they look to cap off the 2022 season on a strong note.
The 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship season is set to conclude at Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will occur on Sunday, November 20.