Nico Hülkenberg will sit in the Haas for the first time today. The German will drive his first entire season in Formula 1 since 2019 in 2023 – he has now spoken about his surprising comeback.
Nico Hülkenberg will replace Mick Schumacher after two years at Haas—a development that was made public last Thursday. Most had already written off a full-time career for Hülkenberg in F1. But the 35-year-old says his desire for F1 has grown again after filling in for Sebastian Vettel twice in the early part of the year.
Therefore, Hülkenberg called Haas team boss Günther Steiner in the summer.
“Obviously [after] ’19 I was out and I was happy, I had some distance and some breather from it.
“In 2021, nothing much happened, and even at the beginning of this year, I wasn’t stressing or thinking about it too much.
“But then coming towards the summer, it somehow grew in me again. When I came and visited races, and saw the action and the excitement, I had the desire to come back.
“And then the discussions started.”
Hülkenberg’s desire to return
Even though the pressure was not exceptionally high to come back, Hülkenberg explained that the talks became “more concrete and serious” as Haas weighed up their driver options, according to motorsport.com.
“It’s much more relaxed, there’s other benefits, but then it sort of crept back – the desire to come back on the grid, to go racing, to kick ass, to be in the driving seat. So there was no fear.”
Hülkenberg suspects it needs “a couple of runs to get up to speed, familiarise with the car and work from there”.
After all, he hasn’t sat in a current Formula 1 car for a while.
The goals for the post-season test
The most important thing for Hülkenberg, he says, is to get used to the car.
“The most important thing for tomorrow is just for me to get my head around F1 and especially this Haas car, to understand it, as it’s a bit of a headstart for next year.
“Three days’ pre-season testing is not a lot before the first event. So that’s just for me a little teaser, to get a feel for this car and how the systems work, driver fit stuff, a lot of basics as well that you can already clear and get out of the way.”
We are curious to see whether Hülkenberg can quickly settle back into the role of a full-time Formula 1 driver.