Rumours are swirling that the Haas Formula 1 team is poised to retain its current driver lineup of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen for the upcoming 2024 season, as reported recently.
Lawrence Barretto, a writer for F1.com, has indicated that discussions are in progress with representatives of both drivers, hinting at an unchanged team configuration for the North Carolina-based outfit.
Historically, Haas, being F1’s sole American team, has shown a penchant for stability in its driver line-up. Guenther Steiner, the team principal, has favoured continuity in the past, with the 2023 pairing of Hulkenberg and Magnussen being a notable exception.
In a surprising move, Steiner opted to replace young German talent Mick Schumacher with the more experienced Hulkenberg.
The decision was met with criticism, as detractors questioned the wisdom of bringing in a driver who had spent two seasons away from the sport and was entering the latter phase of his career at 35 years old.
However, Hulkenberg’s performance on the track has spoken volumes.
Amassing nine points, he has been a key contributor to the team’s total this season, despite the challenges faced by the other side of the garage.
Hulkenberg’s qualifying performances have been particularly impressive.
While his teammate Magnussen has only entered Q3 once this season, Hulkenberg has managed to secure Q3 appearances in half of the Grands Prix, encountering Q1 elimination only three times.
Such notable showings have made the decision to extend Hulkenberg’s contract an apparent choice for Steiner and Haas.
On the other hand, Kevin Magnussen’s retention for the 2024 season might raise eyebrows.
The Danish driver initially returned to Haas in 2022, impressing with his performance.
However, he struggled to set himself apart from Mick Schumacher thereafter.
The 2023 season has seen Magnussen’s performances wane further, with just two points compared to his teammate’s nine and a struggle to advance from Q1 in seven instances.
The decision to continue with Magnussen could be influenced by a combination of limited viable alternatives and the convenience of his established working relationship with Steiner.
The familiarity between the 30-year-old driver and the team principal might play a role in the decision-making process.