Guenther Steiner: Haas likely to keep Hulkenberg and Magnussen

MELBOURNE GRAND PRIX CIRCUIT, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 02: Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23 during the Australian GP at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday April 02, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Simon Galloway / LAT Images)

Guenther Steiner is pleased with Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg’s performances in 2023, giving the Haas duo a strong boost about their chances of racing on the Formula 1 grid next season.

Haas was the last team to announce its driver pairing last year, eventually taking the decision to trust in Nico Hulkenberg’s track record to help them progress.

So far, the American outfits drivers have been relatively evenly matched, although ‘the Hulk’ enjoys a comfortable advantage over his teammate in their qualifying Head-to-head.

In any case, Haas finds itself a reasonable eighth in the standings and within touching distance of seventh – though they have taken just one point from the last five rounds.

A severe drop-off in performance from Saturday to Sunday has been the VF-23’s limiting factor in 2023, often preventing Haas from being competitive in race trim.

CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD, FRANCE – JULY 23: Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1, on the pit wall during the French GP at Circuit Paul Ricard on Saturday July 23, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Alastair Staley / LAT Images)

Despite these difficulties, team principal Guenther Steiner believes his drivers are capable of helping push his personnel to tackle and overcome this problem:

“I must admit, I’m actually very happy with both Kevin and Nico.

“How they’re an integral part in trying to sort the problem and find the solution, how we tackle the short and long-term fix for this.

“And they’re both very positive.

“[They are] not about the performance in the race right now, but positive we can get out of the problem we have.”

Considering the instability that has plagued Haas in previous campaigns, an unchanged driver lineup would surely serve them well going into next season.

Both drivers are performing at a strong level, with Nico Hulkenberg’s comeback validating the decision Guenther Steiner took to bring him back to Formula 1.

Charles Leclerc

On the weekends when the VF-23 has not suffered immensely on race day (Jeddah, Miami and Australia), the Haas duo have managed to secure top 10 finishes.

Moving forward, Steiner and the technical department at Haas must ensure the weaknesses currently impacting can be understood and eliminated.

With teams starting to switch their focus to development for 2024, it would be a severe disadvantage for Haas to enter the winter break without a clear understanding of its issues.

One positive for Guenther Steiner is that Ferrari – who supplies the American outfit with many of its parts – is improving the tyre management of the SF-23.

Hopefully, for this Ferrari customer team, the information obtained at Maranello can trickle down and provide Haas with some comprehensive solutions and explanations for its troubles.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang