Just moments after it was announced that Mick Schumacher would be leaving the Haas F1 Team, his successor within the American team was announced as Nico Hülkenberg was confirmed to be making his full-time return racing and partnering Kevin Magnussen at Haas for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.
Hülkenberg, who since his departure from the Renault F1 Team at the end of the 2019 season, has been officially operating as the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team reserve driver since the beginning of the 2021 season and despite his three year break from full-time racing, the German has still since official Grand Prix action as he was called upon by the Silverstone-based team numerous times across the last three years.
The thirty-five year old German made quite the impression on his reserve duties when he qualified third at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, where he would come home for a eventual seventh-place finish after having to pit from fourth-place late on due to a high level of tyre wear. Also when called upon on the Saturday of the Eifel Grand Prix, Hülkenberg was able to claim an eight-place finish despite starting last on the grid, a drive that netted him the honour of being crowned the driver of the day.
His last track action in Formula 1 was at the beginning of the 2022 season when, without any preparation, Hülkenberg was called to replace the COVID-19 hit Sebastian Vettel for the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The German driver will bring a wealth of experience to the Haas F1 Team in 2023, with one-hundred and eighty-one race starts in Formula One and over five-hundred career points to his name. When talking about the signing of Hülkenberg, Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner was keen to draw on the levels of “experience and knowledge” that the German will bring to the team in 2023.
“I’m naturally very pleased to be welcoming Nico Hülkenberg back to a full-time racing role in Formula 1. 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 was as equally delighted as his new team boss on the news, with the new Haas driver stating that he could not wait to rejoin the battle of the midfield as Haas eyes to build on their progress from the 2022 season into next year.
“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.”