Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes Nico Hulkenberg is "hoping" there is a way he can get out of Haas.
German driver Hulkenberg rejoined the F1 grid this term after three years on the sidelines and has impressed with his outright speed in qualifying for the American-owned outfit.
But struggles in race trim, primarily with excessive tyre degradation which has left Hulkenberg and teammate Kevin Magnussen regularly fighting a losing battle for points.
A recent upgrade package has seemingly failed to address those issues and with Hulkenberg already signed up for another year with the team, Schumacher - as part of his regular Sky Germany column - said: "Haas has given Hulkenberg the opportunity to return to F1. Therefore, I think it is fair and good that he has stayed with Haas.
"Hulkenberg realises that Haas is at an impasse with the whole concept. No matter what they do, Haas is probably no longer good enough to compete in the midfield. That's unfortunate for Hulkenberg.
"You get the feeling that he's dealing with the situation openly and honestly, but that maybe he's also hoping that there's a way he can get out of it."
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Despite scoring 12 points this term, Haas finds itself at the bottom of the Constructors' standings after slumping in the development race compared to rivals.
On Hulkenberg's demeanour, Schumacher added: "His statements, his facial expression, they speak volumes.
"I understand him, because he's not getting any younger. He can still do it, but after two hundred GPs he still hasn't been on the podium. Then you understand he gets impatient.
"A lot of money needs to be invested in Haas. One option would be for Gene Haas to sell the team, or for them to get a development partner. It is not possible to buy some parts here and there, cobble it together and perform."