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Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg makes Haas vow despite Audi switch

Nico Hulkenberg has been confirmed as an Audi driver for 2026 following a season-long build-up with Stake in 2025.

Hulkenberg China
To news overview © XPBimages

Nico Hulkenberg has vowed to give "everything" whilst he remains with Haas for the rest of this season despite confirmation he will leave the F1 team at the end of the year.

Hulkenberg has been announced as the first of Audi's two drivers for 2026 when the German manufacturer makes its Formula 1 bow, following a season-long build-up next year with Stake as he integrates himself into the organisation currently known as Sauber.

The 36-year-old has signed a multi-year contract that could potentially see him become the next driver to compete in F1 in his 40s.

Hulkenberg has conceded to naturally being "thrilled and honoured" to return to a team he competed with for a season in 2013, either side of two spells with Force India that amounted to five years, and "to represent the global German car manufacturer and technology pioneer Audi on its way into Formula 1 in the future".

Recognising it to be "a big project with high ambitions and a huge challenge", Hulkenberg added it is one "that I am very much looking forward to.

"The conversations with Andreas Seidl (Sauber Group CEO) and Oliver Hoffmann (Audi chief technical officer) were very trustful, characterised by a lot of appreciation and mutual understanding regarding the common goals."

The move represents a remarkable upturn in Hulkenberg's career as he spent almost three years on the sidelines after being released by Renault at the end of 2019.

The German driver deputised in two races for Racing Point in the Covid-hit year of 2020, and again for two grands prix with Aston Martin at the start of 2022 when Sebastian Vettel tested positive for the coronavirus.

Haas then signed Hulkenberg for 2023, giving him a second full-time bite of the cherry which he has taken with both hands. Appreciating what Haas has done for him, he is now eager to repay its faith.

"I would like to express a special thank you to the entire Haas F1 Team, especially Gene (Haas) and Guenther (Steiner), for placing their trust in me 1.5 years ago and making a comeback in F1 possible," he said.

"I will do everything I can in the remaining 19 races to be as successful as possible."

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu has expressed his appreciation for how Hulkenberg has performed, notably steering the team back into the points in Saudi Arabia, Australia and China this year and has no doubt there will be no let up for the rest of the campaign.

"I’d like to extend my thanks to Nico for his contributions to the team in the time that he’s been here with us," said Komatsu. "He’s been a great team player and someone we very much enjoy working with.

"His experience and feedback have proved invaluable to us in terms of improving our overall performance, a fact that’s clearly evident in both his qualifying and race performances in the VF-24 this season.

"There’s lots more racing to go this year so we look forward to continuing to benefit from his inputs throughout the remainder of the 2024 season."

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