F1: Schumacher loses F1 drive at Haas, Hulkenberg returns

Nico Hulkenberg returns to Haas as Mick Schumacher makes an expected departure, Rhonan Colquhoun reports.

2K48WHP Singapore. 01st Oct, 2022. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team Reserve Driver. Singapore Grand Prix, Saturday 1st October 2022. Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore. Credit: James Moy/Alamy Live News

Nico Hulkenberg will make a full-time return to the F1 grid next season with Haas F1 Team.

The announcement means that incumbent Haas driver Mick Schumacher, who has been fighting to keep his seat, is set to spend next year on the sidelines.

Both Hulkenberg and Schumacher were the top two choices that Haas deliberated over for some time, with the team in no rush to make a decision which ultimately favoured the older of the two German drivers.

Hulkenberg, 35, last competed full-time in the sport in 2019 with Renault but has made occasional appearances substituting for unwell drivers holding the role of Reserve Driver at Aston Martin.

The earliest sign of what Haas had already decided followed on from the announcement a few weeks back that Stoffel Vandoorne, alongwith F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich, were to share the role of Test and Reserve at Aston Martin.

This move would release Hulkenberg and would allow him to sign on the dotted line with Haas.

The experienced German, with 181 races under his belt, holds the record for the most Formula One career starts without a podium finish and for the most career points without a single race win.

Hulkenberg, who made his debut in 2010, will partner Kevin Magnussen at the American team for 2023.

Mick Schumacher, 23, is about to complete his second season in the sport and will be without a drive next season with the final spot at Williams to be filled by Logan Sargeant.

Mick, son of Seven Time World Champion Michael, won the F2 title in 2019 and progressed into F1 in last season with the aid of being part of Ferrari’s Driver Academy.

Despite having a more competitive car this season, Schumacher has racked-up quite a hefty repair bill with heavy shunts in Saudi Arabia and Monaco with the former ruling him out of competing in the race.

Schumacher started to gain momentum during the middle of the season, out-qualifying Magnussen on a more recent basis and scoring his first ever points with 8th at the British GP, followed by an outstanding 6th place in Austria.

However, there is still hope that Schumacher will still be present within the F1 Paddock next year, with recent rumours linking the young German to Mercedes.

The rumour is that Schumacher will sever his ties with Ferrari and will possibly be offered the role of Reserve Driver for Mercedes -who will lose the services of Nyck de Vries as the Dutchman will make his F1 debut with AlphaTauri.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has spoken very highly of Schumacher and that his surname “belongs” to Mercedes. Micheal Schumacher made his F1 comeback with the Silver Arrows in 2010 and had previously been a part of the manufacturer’s sportscar programme in 1990.

If Haas had chosen either Hulkenberg or Schumacher, it would have guaranteed, even with Sebastian Vettel retiring, that at least one German driver would be on the grid – something that hasn’t happened since the 1981 Season.

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