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Hulkenberg's F1 Crossroads Haas Continuity or Audi Leap

Hülkenberg’s F1 Crossroads: Haas Continuity or Audi Leap?

05/04/2024

Nico Hülkenberg questions his move to a leading team by 2025, shedding light on his potential Audi F1 project involvement.

The 36-year-old German has impressed since returning to Formula 1 with the sport’s smallest team, Haas F1, last year.

But with his contract expiring, Hülkenberg is linked with a move to Sauber for the Audi F1 project, especially given his past working relationship and friendship with Andreas Seidl from their years together at Le Mans with Porsche.

Sauber is clearly not yet a leading team, but it will be a full-fledged factory team by 2026 with clear ambitions to eventually win races and titles.

Hülkenberg is said to have already signed a contract according to several sources and persistent rumors in the Suzuka paddock.

Of course, the German confirms nothing even as he drops a few hints.

“There’s very little hope to be in a top seat in 2025, that’s what I can say,” he smiles.

“I hope that will be the case in a next life (smile), but I don’t think that’s where the journey is taking me directly, for now.”

This could imply that Hülkenberg expects to struggle at Sauber and then in the early years with Audi. Or that he intends to stay with Haas F1 for a third season, especially since the team has clearly made a step forward in 2024.

“It’s like being in another world. We can finally race against the others on Sundays during full stint durations.”

Team owner Gene Haas has also hinted at a cash injection for 2025.

“Gene has promised me more money if we can prove that we’re using what we have effectively,” shares Ayao Komatsu, the team’s director in Suzuka.

“It’s up to us to give him the assurance that we’re investing his money wisely.”

Meanwhile, Hülkenberg is waiting to see how the driver market evolves for 2025.

“It’s not a distraction. I’ve been through all this several times. If it distracts you, it’s bad for you and bad for the team. You need to be able to separate life on the track and conversations about the future.”

“Conversations are happening everywhere, in different places, and there are a few interesting weeks ahead. But I see no reason to rush. The important thing is to stay focused.”

Because he’s already signed a pre-contract elsewhere (with Audi) or because he can stay at Haas F1 if he wants?

“You’ll know in due time!”

Hulkenberg's F1 Crossroads Haas Continuity or Audi Leap 2

Hülkenberg’s F1 Crossroads: Haas Continuity or Audi Leap? Hülkenberg’s F1 Crossroads: Haas Continuity or Audi Leap?

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