2022 appears to have already been forgotten about, despite the final race of the season having only been last weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit.
All eyes have already switched to 2023, with the post-season test having taken place on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.
The special thing about the post-season test is that moving drivers get to drive for their new team for the first time, meaning the returning Nico Hulkenberg was seen behind the wheel of Haas’ VF22.
Hulkenberg completed plenty of mileage on the one-day test and ended the day in 17th, where he also completed 110 laps.
The 35-year-old will be racing in F1 full-time for the first time since 2019, where he was dropped by Renault for Esteban Ocon.
Hulkenberg’s arrival at Haas comes as a result of Mick Schumacher being dropped by the Americans, something Hulkenberg believes is “natural” after not performing strongly enough.
“That’s natural in F1,” Hulkenberg said after being asked if he felt sympathetic for Schumacher.
“We all fight for our careers, for the same piece of tarmac – that’s just how F1 is and ultimately the driver, when he’s racing, he has to convince the team with performance. And if that’s not the case, the team is going to change. Same with engineers, with all personnel.”
The now retired Sebastian Vettel has been one person in particular that hasn’t been afraid to hit out at Haas for dropping Schumacher.
The four-time World Champion feels incredibly “sorry” for the driver he’s effectively mentored and believes he “absolutely deserves a seat”.
The 23-year-old is looking likely to become Mercedes’ new reserve driver for 2023 but, of course, won’t race full-time next season.
Schumacher is hopeful of finding a seat in 2024, where he will likely want to prove Haas wrong for dropping him and arguably treating him woefully.
Vettel questioned Haas’ management system recently for being “difficult to understand” at times, whilst adding that the son of Michael Schumacher has plenty of “potential”.
“Obviously it’s bitter for him and I am sorry for him,” said Vettel.
“I believe the team leadership at Haas is sometimes… yeah… I don’t want to say but sometimes difficult to understand.
“I think Mick absolutely deserves a seat. The season was certainly not easy for him, here and there, maybe he did a mistake but I think the team was also not blameless or innocent, at least from the outside.
“Now I think he is concentrating on the new task, the next steps that will come, I believe and hope he gets a chance because he has the potential.”