Schumacher set to lose seat as Hulkenberg joins Haas

by 24britishtvNov. 17, 2022, 7 p.m. 14

Last updated on .From the section Formula 1

Mick Schumacher looks set to be left without a Formula 1 race seat next season after Haas signed veteran Nico Hulkenberg to replace him.

Hulkenberg, 35, will return to the grid for a full season for the first time since being dropped by Renault in 2019.

Since then he has made a handful of substitute appearances for the Racing Point/Aston Martin team.

The only remaining hope of a race seat in F1 next year for the son of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher is if American Logan Sargeant fails to secure sufficient points in this weekend's Formula 2 finale in Abu Dhabi to secure a drive at Williams.

Williams have said Sargeant, their reserve driver this year, will get the seat as long as he qualifies. He needs to finish eighth in the championship and is currently lying third.

Schumacher has this year scored 12 points to the 25 of Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen, who has out-qualified him 14 times to five in races where a fair comparison can be made.

A series of heavy crashes have also dented Schumacher's hopes.

"I don't want to hide the fact that I am very disappointed about the decision not to renew our contract," the 23-year-said on social media.

"It was at times bumpy but I steadily improved, learned a lot and now know for sure 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 to return to the starting grid."

Schumacher is a contender for a reserve seat at Mercedes. Team principal Toto Wolff said on Sunday that he "would consider taking up this option if he does not get a race seat".

Wolff added that Mercedes and the Schumacher family "belonged together".

Michael drove for Mercedes in endurance racing before graduating to F1, and his first F1 drive at Jordan in 1991 was paid for by the German company.

He ended his career with a three-year period with Mercedes in 2010-12 following his return to F1 after his first retirement at the end of 2006.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who is leaving McLaren after the final race of the 2022 season in Abu Dhabi as the team have terminated his contract a year early, is also a contender for the Mercedes reserve seat.

Ricciardo is also said to be in talks with his former team Red Bull about a similar role.

Hulkenberg has been given a chance to revive a career that lasted for nine seasons and is most notable for being the longest in F1 history for a driver who has not scored a podium finish, and for taking pole position for uncompetitive Williams in Brazil in his debut season in 2010.

"I'm very happy to move into a full-time race seat with Haas F1 team in 2023 - I feel like I never really left Formula 1," he said.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to do what I love the most again and want to thank Gene Haas and Gunther 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."

Hulkenberg is regarded as a highly-talented driver for whom strong results have never quite materialised, quite often because of his own errors - he crashed out of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix when disputing the lead with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren, and potential podiums for Renault escaped him after mistakes in Azerbaijan in 2017 and Germany in 2019.

His best finish is a fourth place, achieved three times with the Force India team, the forerunner of Aston Martin.

Hulkenberg and Magnussen, now team-mates in 2023, famously had a verbal altercation in the TV interview pen after the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix. The German accused the Dane of being "unsporting" and Magnussen responded with a withering put-down.

The two say they have since mended their relationship and no longer have issues with each other.
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