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Hulkenberg Second Season Haas

Hülkenberg Eyes Success in Second Haas F1 Season

19/02/2024

Nico Hülkenberg is optimistic about his second season with Haas F1, aiming to build on his first season’s success and enhance team dynamics.

Hülkenberg is set to begin his second season with Haas F1—having notably outperformed his teammate Kevin Magnussen in his first.

The German was quite critical of the direction his team took in 2023: thus, he may view Günther Steiner’s replacement by Ayao Komatsu in a positive light.

“My relationship with Ayao is quite good,” he shares on the eve of winter testing in Bahrain.

“It’s clear that I worked closely with him throughout last season. We’re seeing a big change in that area, but it’s interesting. Other teams have done the same, appointing technically proficient individuals as team directors, and it has worked out well. Ayao will have his own way of working, but I believe he brings a lot of technical knowledge and expertise.”

However, the competitiveness of the VF-24 remains very uncertain. Last year in Austin, the team introduced significant upgrades, but unlike Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hülkenberg did not adopt them.

Isn’t this a sign that Haas is going the wrong way in its development? What will this year bring?

“I hope the car will be a bit better, without the limitations we encountered last year. You naturally want to perform better than the previous year, that’s normal. We had a tough year last year, so we definitely want to improve. We particularly struggled during races—it was something we needed and wanted to overcome. I’ve seen the new car; it looks better, an evolution.”

“We’ve managed to improve certain aspects, but at this point of the year, as every year, it’s hard to know exactly where we stand and where we’ll end up in the standings, so we need to keep our heads down, continue working hard, and stay focused.”

‘A good match’ with Kevin Magnussen

Contrary to some expectations, the relationship between Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen has gone smoothly, without any issues. The German confirms he gets along very well with the Dane.

“We work very well together. It’s a good match, and there haven’t been any problems or friction. I think there are a lot of similarities in our lives; we’re both more experienced, we both have young families, and we both took a break from Formula 1 before coming back. We’re very much aligned, even in terms of what we expect from the car, so it’s really nice to work with him, and I look forward to this relationship continuing.”

On a more personal level, does Nico Hülkenberg set specific goals for himself?

“My goal is to have fun, enjoy the season, and maintain this positive feeling inside me – because it brings out the best in me and allows me to perform at my best level. As I mentioned earlier, in terms of sports, we obviously want to improve on last year, do better.”

“We had a lot of good qualifying sessions last year, but I think this year, the goal is to try to translate that into the race, to score more points.”

With the increasing number of Grand Prix per season, it can sometimes be hard to keep track, but Nico Hülkenberg is now an extremely experienced driver, with over 200 Grand Prix under his belt…

Physically, at 36, does Hülkenberg still feel as sharp?

“I’m very fresh, very ready. Having over 200 Grand Prix to my name will help me a lot. Physically, I feel very good. I’m in great shape and invested a lot this winter to further improve my physical condition. I feel really ready and excited for this season.”

“Last year’s long season didn’t really have any consequences. Of course, there’s a lot of traveling, but that’s why we train and need to be fit. I took the first two weeks a bit more relaxedly after Abu Dhabi, relaxed, met with friends, and used the downtime to decompress a bit. Since mid-December, I’ve been back to training rhythm. I didn’t travel much during the off-season, spent time with my family, and prepared.”

Hülkenberg Second Season Haas.

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