Hulkenberg reached out to Haas in the summer after F1 interest returned

Haas announced last Thursday that it had signed Hulkenberg for next year as Kevin Magnussen’s teammate, replacing Mick Schumacher after two seasons.

It marks Hulkenberg’s full-time return to Formula 1 after three years, with the German making just five appearances in races since losing his Renault seat at the end of 2019. He spent 2022 working as a reserve driver for Aston Martin, deputizing for Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia.

Hulkenberg revealed that he contacted Haas team boss Gunther Steiner over the summer to say he would be interested in a seat after finding his interest in returning to F1.

“clearly [after] “19 I was outside and I was happy, and I had some distance and some respite from it,” Hulkenberg said.

“In 2021, nothing much happened, and even at the beginning of this year, I wasn’t focused or thinking about it much.

“But then as summer came, it grew inside of me again in a way. When I came and visited the races, and saw the action and the excitement, I just had the urge to go back.

And then the discussions began.”

Hulkenberg said talks then became “more realistic and serious” over the past month as Haas weighed driver options, before ruling out keeping Schumacher or signing Antonio Giovinazzi. The deal with Hulkenberg was eventually signed last Wednesday.

Before his interest in getting back again grew, Hulkenberg explained that he was “not too nervous” about returning to F1 full-time as he was “enjoying life out of the driving seat.”

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin AMR22, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin AMR22, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Photo by: Zack Mauger / Motorsports Pictures

“It’s more relaxing, and there are other benefits, but then it kind of crept back in—the desire to get back on the grid, race, kick back, get in the driving seat. So there was no fear.”

Hulkenberg will drive a Haas car for the first time on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi when he takes part in post-season testing before making his first race with the team in Bahrain next March.

Although Hulkenberg has experience in the 2022 cars from the first two races of the year and in tire testing since then, Hulkenberg thought it would take “a few rides to get up to speed, get to know the car and work from there.”

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He added, “The most important thing for tomorrow is just for me to find my head around Formula 1 and especially this Haas car, to understand it, because it will be the start of next year.

“Three days of pre-season testing isn’t much before the first event. And that’s just a little teaser for me, to get to know this car and how the systems work, the right driver stuff, and a lot of the basics too. You can really clear out and get out of the way.”

“You never know until it’s signed, but I think in the last month it’s become more realistic and serious, and I was more optimistic and confident that we could agree a deal,” Hulkenberg explained Monday at Yas Marina Circuit.

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