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Haas Must Invest More

Hülkenberg, Steiner Agree: Haas Must Invest More

21/02/2024

Nico Hülkenberg aligns with Gunther Steiner, emphasizing the need for Haas F1 to increase investments for success. They highlight the essential shift needed to compete effectively in the budget-capped era of Formula 1.

Nico Hülkenberg agrees with his former boss at Haas F1, Gunther Steiner, that the small American team needs to invest more to succeed in Formula 1.

It’s widely acknowledged that the biggest tension with owner Gene Haas was Steiner’s assertion that the billionaire needed to inject more funds to lift the team from the bottom of the constructors’ standings.

Hülkenberg, returning to F1 with Haas last year, was highly critical of the much-anticipated “B” car from Haas not proving to be an improvement over the season’s start car.

“It was a big change but the fact is it wasn’t better.”

“I wanted to point that out by reverting to the old specification,” adds Hülkenberg, referring to his switch back to the old car shortly after the new one’s launch.

It seems Steiner has come to the same conclusion: the model he and Haas launched nearly a decade ago no longer works in the era of budget caps.

“That was already the case last year,” acknowledges Hülkenberg. “We need to step up our efforts. What we’re doing now isn’t enough.”

“It also depends on what you want – where you want to go as a team. What are you willing to invest? That’s the question Gene needs to ask himself as the owner. The budget cap isn’t quite interesting for our model because what was possible in 2016 and 2017 has now become a bit more challenging.”

“It probably requires a follow-up.”

He thus admits that when Gene Haas called him just after Christmas to inform him of Steiner’s imminent firing, “it was a surprise to me.”

“To be honest, I didn’t expect that. But his successor, Ayao (Komatsu), is no stranger at Haas – he’s been here from the very start. He knows everyone, and everyone knows him.”

“I met him last year. So there are no surprises.”

However, Hülkenberg admits he had “very good working relationships” with Steiner at the helm, adding, “We also got along very well on a personal level.”

“We have a very similar sense of humor, even if we are serious. We were always happy to tease each other. It was a good understanding and a good collaboration with a team leader. I had never experienced anything like that before.”

He said he trusts Komatsu to act well in his new position, including the departure of technical director Simone Resta, but Hülkenberg also does not expect a major breakthrough for Haas in 2024.

“It won’t change much. I don’t expect significant progress or miracles.”

“We have been able to improve our package, but there won’t be a fundamental transformation for us now. From a sporting perspective, I expect a tough year.”

“What we found during the winter will be a step forward, but I also believe it won’t be enough. I just have to take the pace from last year and try to improve, but I can’t imagine we’ve made a huge progress this year either.”

Haas Must Invest More. Haas Must Invest More

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