Nico Hulkenberg close to replacing Mick Schumacher at Haas

Nico Hulkenberg has made five appearances since he left Renault in 2019.

Reports linking Nico Hulkenberg to the currently vacant Haas seat next year have strengthened in recent days.

Team principal, Guenther Steiner, has been weighing up his options throughout 2022, as Mick Schumacher is out of contract at the end of the year as it stands.

The German struggled to put points on the board in the opening nine rounds, and crashes in Jeddah and Monaco did not help with that.

His Italian boss seemed particularly disgruntled after the latter, but the 23-year-old has found his feet since then.

READ: Guenther Steiner admits Haas could replace Mick Schumacher with Nico Hulkenberg

Schumacher deserved points at the Canadian Grand Prix before a reliability failure put pay to his chances, but he would manage his first championship points in Silverstone two weeks later.

That was followed by a P6 in Spielberg, and he showed a different, more assertive side to himself that weekend.

However, a new deal has not materialised, despite Schumacher’s affirmations that he is “happy” at the American side.

Amid the team’s options, if they choose to move forward with someone else, are Daniel Ricciardo, who has recently been dropped by McLaren, Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari’s reserve driver, and former Formula 1 driver, Hulkenberg.

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Ricciardo would be a risk, as his form at McLaren leaves ambiguity over his ability to perform, and Giovinazzi’s Ferrari links make him a contender, especially since Schumacher is rumoured to be cutting his ties with the Italian side at the end of this season.

Hulkenberg had an extremely solid midfield career between 2010 and 2019, and has since made five deputy appearances with Racing Point in 2020, and then their new Aston Martin guise this year.

READ: ‘Our drivers flew off the track a lot’: Aston Martin aiming to ‘bring upgrades to every race’

The German out-qualified Lance Stroll in Bahrain, and finished ahead of the Canadian in Jeddah, and who can forget his unbelievable qualifying performance at the 70th anniversary Grand Prix in Silverstone?

Kevin Magnussen has had one or two issues with Hulkenberg in the past, but those two shared a joke about that on the grid in Bahrain at the start of the year, indicating that the hatchet has been buried.

Reports have suggested that the Dane has no issues with the 35-year-old joining him at the Banbury-based outfit next year.