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Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg slams Haas and sends engineers a clear message

Nico Hulkenberg believes the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix confirmed Haas worst suspicions heading into the winter break.

Hulkenberg US
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Nico Hulkenberg has sent a clear message to his Haas team, after enduring a tough season-finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The team finished 2023 bottom of the Constructors' Championship on just 12 points following a difficult campaign in which the VF-23 has been affected by high tyre degradation and a lack of upgrades.

A big package was introduced in the United States, but Hulkenberg ran the old-spec in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, feeling it was a better option to team-mate Kevin Magnussen's preference of the newer-spec.

The race at Yas Marina was Haas's season in a microcosm as Hulkenberg stared in qualifying with eighth on the grid, but as the car suffered from its increased tyre wear, fell to 15th on a two-stop strategy with Magnussen a lapped 20th and last, with the comparison of specifications minor.

Haas 'got away with it' early in the season

"I don't think there is a huge difference between them, minor differences," Hulkenberg told media, including RacingNews365.

"Last weekend, I felt actually the new package had an edge over the old package on a low downforce configuration. This weekend I felt quite okay, Kevin didn't feel so happy.

"They are so similar, but that's in itself obviously not good enough. An update is supposed to be better and fix some of your issues and unfortunately, that didn't happen."

When asked if there is anything specific that needs to change over the winter break: "I don't know if it proved anything. We need to work hard because I want us to do better, we need to pick up our feet, do a better job.

"The signs were there early in the season, and we got away with it earlier in the season because other people also were struggling. Once they cleaned up and brought some real developments, that's when we really started to pay the penalty.

"The second half of the season has been really tough, there was only an opportunity to score a point or two for me in Singapore, which we missed.

"Apart from that we just never had the pace to do it, even when there was a lot of cars dropping out we were just too far away from it.

"Of course that's not great and that's why we need to be better."

Elaborating on the troubles, Hulkenberg told Sky Sports Deutschland: "I have demonstrated that the new car is not faster and that is quite clearly a problem.

"It's a message to our factory, to the engineers and mechanics.

"Next year we have to do things differently. That has been our problem this year. Our development was at a standstill and we have been brutally overtaken."


F1 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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