Nico Hulkenberg makes Haas demand

Concerns have arisen over the inability of Haas to keep up with the car developments of its rivals, leading to disappointing performances on-track.

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has voiced his opinion on the team’s recent struggles, attributing their decline in the Formula 1 pecking order to a lack of development. 

This comes in the wake of disappointing drives by Nico Hulkenberg, who recently joined Haas as a substitute driver, replacing Schumacher’s nephew Mick, who was dropped at the end of last season.

Despite a strong return to Formula 1 at the start of the year, Hulkenberg expressed his disappointment after dropping from eighth on the starting grid to a 15th-place finish at the chequered flag in the Spanish Grand Prix. 

In an interview with Sky Deutschland, he likened his experience in the race to being a knocked-down piece of fruit, feeling powerless against his competitors. 

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Hulkenberg acknowledged that while the team shows promise in qualifying, they struggle to maintain their competitiveness over the course of a race, indicating the need for improvement in this area.

“The first five laps I was like a piece of fruit knocked to the ground. I was simply eaten up,” Hulkenberg told Sky Deutschland.

“We are competitive on one lap but not enough over 66. We have to work on that.”

Ralf Schumacher, analysing Haas’ performance, believes that the core issue lies in the team’s inability to keep up with the developments of their competitors. 

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He stated that while the initial concept of their car was commendable, Haas seems to lack the capacity to further develop and evolve it. 

Schumacher emphasised the necessity of exploring new paths and potentially bringing in fresh talent in the development department to overcome this stagnation.

The German driver highlighted two key challenges faced by Haas: excessive tire wear and insufficient downforce. 

Schumacher observed that while the team performs relatively well on high-speed tracks due to low drag, this also means they struggle to generate sufficient downforce, impacting overall performance. 

He acknowledged the limitations of Haas as a smaller team with fewer resources but had hoped for an upward trajectory following their struggles last year.

“The concept that was developed was great,” he said. 

“But apparently they’re not in a position to develop it further.

“New paths must be explored and perhaps new people in the development area must be found, since things are not really progressing.

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“In the race, they have too much tyre wear, but also too little downforce.

“They’re always quite good on the high-speed tracks, but that means the car has little drag but unfortunately also little downforce.

“I see Haas as a small team with small opportunities, but I had hoped that things would go uphill after last year.”