The logical choice
After experiencing some instability for a few seasons, the American team Haas has opted for continuity next season, announcing that Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen will continue racing for them for a second consecutive season in 2024. Either way, Haas did not have too many possibilities and prefers experience to youth to help the structure develop its car.
Ousted from F1 by Renault at the end of 2019, Hülkenberg was a luxury freelancer for Force INdia then Aston Martin between 2020 and 2022, then he returned full-time this season, performing well, especially in qualifying, the German reaching Q3 six times in 12 races and scoring the team’s best result – seventh at the Australian Grand Prix.
Returning to Haas last year, Magnussen scored two of the team’s three points – two 10th-place finishes in Saudi Arabia and Miami – in his sixth season with Haas, but his record is more complicated.
This pair is nevertheless one of the most experienced, with the two drivers having 346 Grand Prix starts between them, and it is this experience that Haas hopes can help take the team to the next level – the American team currently eighth in the Constructors’ Championship, the same position in which it finished the 2022 campaign.
“I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had an extremely strong driver line-up this season in Formula 1 and ultimately there was no reason to look to change that going forward.” , said team principal Guenther Steiner.
“Kevin is obviously a very well-known person for us, and I’m delighted to have him back for what will be his seventh season with Haas. With 113 starts for our team alone, we know where his strengths lie and his knowledge and experience of our organization also blends in very well.
“On the other side of the garage, Nico has just fitted in without noise or fanfare and has proven to be a valuable member of the team. He is approaching 200 starts in Formula 1 and we are very happy to benefit from this experience behind the wheel.
“We have had to resolve our issues this season with the VF-23, we make no bones about it, but we were extremely fortunate to have had two pilots whose feedback was invaluable to help us with our engineering goals.
The two men having had some spicy verbal clashes in the past, some feared a difficult cohabitation between “M-Mag” and “Hulk”, but ultimately the duo works well.
“Kevin and Nico hit it off from the start and together they both scored points. In particular, Nico excelled in qualifying, ending up in Q3 on six occasions.
“Not having raced in Formula 1 full-time since 2019 shows how professional he is and how much he takes care of himself physically. Also worth noting is the amount of energy both drivers bring, they have been fantastic not only in terms of their commitment to the team but especially in terms of our partner activations and opportunities in the face of fans.
The 2024 tray closes a little more
In any case, with Alonso’s extended career, the return (still on probation) of Ricciardo and the confirmation of the Magnussen-Hulkenberg duo, the places for young people are more and more complicated to unlock, all the more that the teams are reluctant to widen the field as the FIA wishes…
As for the 2024 field, 4 steering wheels are still “pending”: at Alfa Romeo, only Bottas is confirmed but Zhou should continue, both because he is progressing, often ahead of his leader and because his nationality remains interesting. from a marketing point of view. At Alpha Tauri, neither Tsunoda nor Ricciardo have yet been validated. The Japanese has progressed and is doing his best with a restive car, even if the traditional 3-year training lease is coming to an end and Helmut Marko is not the type to do in sentimetal. Ricciardo still has to prove that he deserves this second chance, and we have to move because Red Bull has foals in the starting blocks, like Liam Lawson in Formula Nippon. Finally, the 2024 contract is still in negotiations between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, but we imagine that its finalization is dragging on details…