Haas is set to announce a deal with Hulkenberg for the 2023 Formula One season.
Nico Hulkenberg is expected to be confirmed as Kevin Magnussen’s teammate for 2023 by the Haas Formula One team, leaving Mick Schumacher without a seat.
Hulkenberg’s name emerged as a possible Haas candidate after it became clear that the team was unlikely to retain Schumacher, as revealed by Motorsport.com in September.
This week, reports in Germany linked Hulkenberg to a 2023 deal with Haas.
Antonio Giovinazzi, the preferred choice of engine supplier Ferrari, who had previously helped to encourage the team to take Schumacher, was the other main candidate.
Gunther Steiner, team boss, has always insisted that Ferrari has no contractual obligation to place a driver in the team, though there was clearly some room for negotiation between the two parties.
Former Alfa Romeo driver Giovinazzi helped his case with a strong FP1 performance for Haas at Monza, but the Italian then ruined his chances by crashing right at the start of the session in Austin.
While not naming Hulkenberg, Steiner confirmed last weekend at Interlagos that a decision had been made and would be announced before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ensuring that whoever got the job would be able to do the Pirelli test on the Tuesday following the race.
“Expect an announcement next week,” he said. “I’m not telling you a specific date because then everyone will be waiting for it. It will be available next week.”
“We’re just working out the details, how we’re going to do it, what we’re going to do,” he added.
Hulkenberg’s return will be a remarkable comeback for the 35-year-old, who last raced for Renault in 2019.
In 2020, he made three appearances as a reserve driver for Racing Point, one of which was a non-start due to a technical issue. After Sebastian Vettel was hit by COVID-19, he competed in the first two races of the season with the renamed Aston Martin team.
When asked earlier this year about his chances of returning to F1, Hulkenberg stated unequivocally that he had accepted the possibility that it would not happen.
“I’ll stay as Aston’s reserve driver, and I’ll do my stuff for ServusTV,” he explained. “To be honest, I don’t know what to say after that. I’m not sure who I am. But that’s fine. I’m in a great frame of mind. And I’m perfectly fine with that; it’s not a pressing matter.
“I need to find something in racing that I am passionate about. That hasn’t happened yet. And I’m not sure if it will in the coming months.
“But I’m completely at ease and open about it. I had many successful racing years. If there’s more to come, that’s fantastic. But it’s not like my life comes to a halt without it.”
He believed, however, that his experience could still be beneficial to a team.
“There aren’t many people with my history and experience who are still around, or who race elsewhere, so there aren’t many alternatives.”
“There are a lot of young guys in F2, a lot of talent.” However, they clearly lack F1 experience.”