“Looks like Williams is gone…” says Hülkenberg who now concedes Haas’ defeat to Williams in the Formula 1 constructors championship.
Nico Hulkenberg believes Williams are “gone” in the Formula One Constructors’ Championship unless his Haas team pull off a “miracle” to turn the tide. Haas have yet to solve the tyre problems on their 2023 car. The team is unable to maintain its often good qualifying pace over a full race stint.
The team has struggled particularly on hot and twisty tracks, where the Pirelli tyres are most tested, and the disastrous performance at the Italian Grand Prix was another low point.
Hülkenberg and team-mate Kevin Magnussen were the only drivers to be lapped, finishing 17th and 18th respectively.
Despite testing solutions to the tyre overheating problem, Haas have clearly not found a solution. The team has now received proof of this in the Constructors’ Championship.
At the start of the second half of the season they shared seventh place with Williams, but since then Alexander Albon has almost doubled the points tally of their resurgent rivals, while Haas have not scored a point since Austria.
Hülkenberg certain that Williams have pulled away
Haas are now ten points behind Williams, while Alfa Romeo have closed to within one, but Hulkenberg admits that Haas will not be able to keep up with Williams.
“To be honest, Williams looks like they’re gone,” he says. “They and McLaren have obviously made a lot of progress this year. And I don’t see how we can turn the tide unless we find a miracle”.
“With the low downforce package, when the tyre is at the end of its life, there is only one direction to go and that is backwards,” he complains.
“We eat up the tyre, the balance is bad, we slide a lot more than other cars. We can’t maintain the speed and we use more tyres. It was one of the most difficult and worst races of the season…”
Difficult in Singapore even without the sun?
While Magnussen has generally struggled with the handling characteristics of the VF-23, Hülkenberg’s twelfth place at Zandvoort showed some signs of improvement with the high downforce package. And although the sun will not play a role in the Singapore night race, the high temperatures could still cause problems for Haas.
“The high track temperatures and the sun are certainly not good for us,” he says, hoping that the improved pace at Zandvoort is representative of the upcoming races.
“The pace at Zandvoort looked more promising and the characteristics and feel of the car were much better than this weekend.
“I am cautiously optimistic for the next races, I think we should be better placed. At least a better place in the midfield and closer to a race.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 12, 2023