The final decision over the Formula One driver lineup for 2023 was made by the Haas team just days before the final race of the 2022 season. Mick Schumacher was ditched by the American Haas F1 as team boss Gunther Steiner persuaded the team owner to return to a lineup of experienced F1 drivers by recruiting Nico Hulkenberg alongside Kevin Magnussen.
Hulkenberg last raced full time in F1 during the 2019 season though has deputised for Sebastian Vettel at Racing Point and then the renamed Aston Martin Silverstone based team.
German F1 publication believes Schumacher disliked at Haas F1
Marc Surer, a former F1 driver from Switzerland who competed in the sport between 1979 and 1986 completing 88 grand prix events, believes Haas have made the correct decision by abandoning as Formula1.de describes the ‘hated’ Mick Schumacher.
It appears the German publication believes Schumacher was not much liked within the Haas F1 team due to his regular crashes and the cost to the team’s budget in replacement parts.
Speaking to Germany’s Formula1.de, Surer claims of Hulkenberg, “He is a strong talent. In terms of speed, he usually gets to the point.”
Hulkenberg good in all types of F1 car
“He is not a sensitive driver, but he has always been able to quickly get to grips with a car, whether it oversteers or understeers, From this point of view, he is certainly a good driver and has simply not been lucky when it came claiming podium positions.”
Hulkenberg as the dubious Formula One record of competing in the most races without scoring a podium finish in 181 races so far.
Surer reveals, ”I feel connected to him anyway, because I never made the podium. I also dropped out every time I was in the first three.”
Brazil 2012 was the Hulk’s best hope of a win
Nico Hulkneberg came close to his first victory at the 2012 Brazilian GP whilst driving for Force India. However, he was deprived by a safety car and a collision with Lewis Hamilton of his maiden F1 victory.
Surer believed Hulkenberg will be as hungry as ever for Formula One success given his three seasons out of the sport.
“This is the only point where he has to believe he can still bring something to the team because he doesn’t have that long left in his racing career,” says Surer. The Swiss racing driver compares Hulkenberg with Alonso’s return to F1. “If someone is hungry, then nothing slows him down. And I assume that Nico Hülkenberg is hungry.”
The Haas F1 lineup of 2021 saw the team recruit two rookies in an effort to improve the team’s finances from their sponsors, yet Surer believes in the short term the decision to bring Hulkenberg in alongside Magnussen. “Because the experience that will help the team. This was seen when Magnussen returned, who was able to deliver immediately if the car was good.”
Haas wasted 2 years of Schumacher apprenticeship
In the long run, however, Surer questions the Haas decision. “With Mick you have someone to whom you have now paid two years of apprenticeship in Formula 1 and now you push him away.”
“Maybe he would have broken through next year, so its was a double edged sword. The experienced guy who is hungry is better for a year however Mick was the better choice in the long term because he does have talent.”
Schumacher has kept his foot in the F1 door given Mercedes have recruited him as their substitute driver should anything happen to either George Russell or Lewis Hamilton.
Mark Surer doesn’t believe Mick was a natural like his father Michael, but suggests he is worth his spot on the F1 grid and is a good racer, “and good racers can also become world champions,” he adds.
Turning the the hopes for the Haas team, Surer believes they have the right partner in Ferrari. “They certainly need to get better in race strategy, but it’s a small team. You have Ferrari’s help in the construction of the car. Whether the method they use in having the chassis built by Dallara is really the best way, I don’t know. Maybe you would have to think about whether you can do it a little more independently,”
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