Nico Hulkenberg returns to a permanent Formula 1 seat for the first time since being let go by Renault in 2019; Mick Schumacher’s first spell in the sport ends after two seasons with Haas; the announcement completes the 2023 grid
Last Updated: 17/11/22 11:52am
Nico Hulkenberg will replace Mick Schumacher at Haas for the 2023 Formula 1 season, the team have confirmed.
Haas’ decision brings to an end Schumacher’s two-year spell in the sport, with fellow German Hulkenberg’s signing completing the grid for next season.
Schumacher, the son of seven-time champion Michael, arrived in F1 as a highly-rated Formula 2 champion, but had been under pressure this year amid struggles alongside Kevin Magnussen and a run of crashes – with team owner Gene Haas even stating he “costs a fortune”.
“I would like to thank Mick Schumacher for his contribution to the team over the past couple of years,” said Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.
“Mick’s pedigree in the junior categories was well known and he has continued to grow and develop as a driver in his time with Haas F1 Team – culminating in his first Formula 1 points-scoring successes earlier this season.
“While choosing to go in separate directions for the future the entire team wishes Mick well for the next steps in his career path and beyond.”
Schumacher was not quoted in the official press release, but posted shortly after on social media: “This is going to be my last race with Haas.
“I don’t want to hide the fact that I am very disappointed about the decision not to renew our contract. Nevertheless, I would like to thank both Haas and Ferrari for giving me this opportunity. Those years together have helped me mature both technically and personally. And especially when things got difficult, I realised how much I love this sport.
“It was at times bumpy but I steadily improved, learned a lot and now know for sure that I deserve a place in Formula 1. The subject is anything but closed for me. Setbacks only make you stronger.
“My fire burns for Formula 1 and I will fight hard to return to the starting grid.”
Schumacher then signed off his post with ‘PTW’, which he said earlier this season means ‘Prove Them Wrong’.
Schumacher could at least remain as a reserve driver in F1. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff flirted publicly with this option last weekend – especially since the Silver Arrows are on the lookout. Wolff said he “makes no secret of the fact that the Schumacher family belongs to Mercedes and that we appreciate Mick very much.”
Hulkenberg seals F1 return | ‘I feel like I never left’
Hulkenberg returns to a permanent seat for the first time since he was let go by Renault at the end 2019, but the 35-year-old has competed in five races since then as a stand-in for Aston Martin, three of which came when the team was known as Racing Point.
“I’m very happy to move into a full-time race seat with Haas in 2023. I feel like I never really left Formula 1,” said Hülkenberg.
Who’s driving where in 2023?
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen||Sergio Perez|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc||Carlos Sainz|
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||George Russell|
|Alpine||Esteban Ocon||Pierre Gasly|
|McLaren||Lando Norris||Oscar Piastri|
|Alfa Romeo||Valtteri Bottas||Zhou Guanyu|
|Aston Martin||Fernando Alonso||Lance Stroll|
|Haas||Kevin Magnussen||Nico Hulkenberg|
|AlphaTauri||Yuki Tsunoda||Nyck de Vries|
|Williams||Alex Albon||Logan Sargeant|
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to do what I love the most again and want to thank Gene Haas and Günther Steiner for their trust. We have work ahead of us to be able to compete with all the other teams in the midfield, and I cannot wait to join that battle again.”
Steiner added: “The experience and knowledge base Nico brings to the team is clear to see – with nearly 200 career starts in Formula 1 – and a reputation as being a great qualifier and a solid, reliable racer.
“These are attributes, which when you pair them together with Kevin’s experience, gives us a very credible and well-seasoned driver line-up which we believe will help push the team onwards up the grid.
“That’s obviously the goal and it was that ambition that has prompted Nico’s return to Formula 1 – he shares our vision and can be a key player together with the rest of the team in building on the foundations we’ve laid this year with our return to the points battle.”
Ralf Schumacher rages at Mick dumping
Mick’s uncle, Ralf Schumacher slammed Steiner and Haas following the news.
“Mick has shown that there is potential but no matter what he did, the team and Guenther Steiner were never satisfied with it,” Ralf, the brother of Michael who had 180 race starts and six wins, told Sky Sports News.
He added; “The whole behaviour cannot be explained with normal standards, it almost has to be something personal.
“I think that Guenther Steiner doesn’t get along with the fact that someone else is the focus at Haas, he is very, very happy to be the one who is in the foreground. He is a self-promoting person.”
Steiner hit back later.
“I try to do a good job,” Steiner responded.
“It’s not about attention, it’s not about my attention it’s about doing a good job. If people take attention off it, I cannot say, don’t look at me. I’m not doing it on purpose.
“I don’t think I need to defend myself here. Everybody can do and say what they want and I do what I think is best for the team and leave it at that.”
“No (fall out). With Mick, this is not an issue for me with Mick. I cleared that air very well with him and I know that it is not him. It has nothing to do with him.”