With the Canadian GP only days away, discussion about the F1 driver market has intensified in typical fashion – as drivers and teams begin finalising agreements for 2024.
This year’s transfer market is set to be slightly more standard compared to last summer’s chaotic sequence of events, culminating in over half the grid making at least one driver change.
The top four teams (Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari) have their drivers contracted for at least 2024 – with the exception of Lewis Hamilton, who is expected to sign a contract relatively soon.
Looking further down the field, there are several drivers without an agreement for next season – including Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg at Haas.
Hulkenberg’s agreement with Haas was one of the last pieces of last season’s transfer puzzle, with the American outfit trusting in his experience and track record of consistency in Formula 1.
Speaking ahead of the Canadian GP, Guenther Steiner explained there are no plans to replace either driver for 2024:
“As far as the driver market is concerned, we’re pretty happy with what we have at the moment,” he told the media in Montreal.
“Of course, we want to announce our drivers as soon as possible, so we don’t have to hang around like last year.”
Kevin Magnussen’s multi-year agreement was signed just weeks before the 2022 season, as Haas took a last-minute decision to replace Nikita Mazepin.
Since then, aside from a few unforced errors, the Danish driver has delivered at a respectable level since returning to Formula 1.
Although Magnussen’s two points in the standings seem a relatively small turnover, his two points finishes have been invaluable in such a tightly contested midfield.
Haas currently sits seventh in the constructors’, mainly thanks to the contributions of their driver pairing – who have scored important points even with an unpredictable VF-23.
Nico Hulkengerg’s fantastic qualifying performances have often been followed by disappointing races on Sunday, with the issues currently plaguing Ferrari also negatively impacting Haas.
However, when the VF-23 is competitive, Haas can rely on at least one of its drivers to deliver.
As such, with contract season approaching, it is little surprise that Guenther Steiner is happy to extend both his drivers’ contracts.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang