Nico Hulkenberg will replace Mick Schumacher in 2023 after Haas chose not to renew his contract.
Kevin Magnussen’s 2023 teammate has been the subject of continuous rumors for well over a month, and Mick Schumacher’s future in Formula 1 has been in doubt since Haas delayed renewing his contract.
In October, team owner Gene Haas informed the media that Schumacher needed to stop making such obvious mistakes and start showing the team that he appreciated their confidence in him if he wanted to have any hope of racing for the team next season.
Although Schumacher’s talent and reputation are undeniable, according to Haas, the German driver makes himself an unaffordable asset by frequently wrecking the car, which requires expensive repairs that the team cannot afford, as was the case earlier this year when Schumacher split his car in half in Monaco.
There have been questions about the team’s choice to replace a 23-year-old driver who will only get better with a 35-year-old Nico Hulkenberg who is making a comeback to F1 in the latter stages of his career, but given that Haas is a smaller team that is in urgent need of results, their replacement decision is excusable.
According to Hulkenberg, the contract was just sealed a few days ago, despite the fact that speculation about his return to Formula 1 had grown more intense in recent weeks.
“It went all the way to the end and was only in the bag a few days ago,” the German driver claimed. “In the summer, the probability was greater that it wouldn’t work out than it would work out but I was still quite relaxed.”
“Of course I’m happy now… It’s going to be a more intense year again… Being the third driver is more chilled. You don’t sit in a hot seat and have the pressure to perform.”
The German has re-joined the grid for 2023 by giving up his reserve driver position at Aston Martin, which he has held since being released from Renault a few years ago.
While rumors about Schumacher’s future have been circulating since the summer break, Hulkenberg feels that his fellow countryman has had more than enough time to establish himself and maintain his position.
“It was bit by bit,” Hulkenberg said about the negotiation process. “After the summer Mick then suddenly performed better and was given more time, and it all took longer and longer.”
Bernie Ecclestone has recommended Schumacher to leave Formula One because he thinks his last name is his biggest burden, but the 23-year-old said in a statement following his dismissal that he will do everything in his power to return to the sport where he feels he belongs.
The German also acknowledged his displeasure with Haas’ choice to replace him, although he thanked Ferrari and the team for supporting him so far in his career.