2023 will be a big year for Haas, with the Americans needing to build on from their eighth place finish in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship.
The team’s questionable strategy to sacrifice the 2021 season to develop their 2022 car ended up being the right call by the Americans, who jubilantly celebrated Kevin Magnussen finishing fifth at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Magnussen was, of course, a late minute addition to the team, after the Danish driver was signed almost at the start of the season to replace Nikita Mazepin.
The experienced driver performed brilliantly in his returning year to the sport and quickly cemented his place as the team’s number one driver, a status he arguably maintained throughout the season.
This was due to Mick Schumacher having struggled, especially in the first half of the season, where he crashed heavily at both the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix.
It was from the Monaco GP when rumours already began to circulate that Haas weren’t happy with the 23-year-old, who’s crashes were extremely expensive affairs.
Whilst he performed much better in the second half of the year, following consecutive points finishes at the British Grand Prix and the Austrian Grand Prix, Schumacher’s future with the Americans continued to be questioned.
The Austrian GP was actually Schumacher’s last points finish of the season, with him having missed out just on multiple other occasions.
Despite this, team principal Guenther Steiner admitted that Schumacher had a “50/50 chance” of retaining his seat for a third season, something that ended up not happening.
The side have opted for experience over youth for 2023, with Nico Hulkenberg having been signed to replace his fellow German.
Hulkenberg and Magnussen will form arguably the most experienced line-up on the grid, with over 300 GP starts between them.
However, Hulkenberg wasn’t the only ex-F1 driver to have been considered for the role, as former Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi was also considered for the second Haas seat.
The Italian even drove for the team during FP1 at the Italian Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix; however, Steiner ultimately decided that Hulkenberg was the “best decision for the team”.
“He was in the beginning on the list of drivers,” Steiner explained to reporters.
“But then I think you can see we took the best decision for the team in the end.
“Obviously everyone has their now opinions about drivers, but for us to do what we want to do at the moment and take the team forward, Nico was the best option for us.”