Haas’ Hulkenberg dilemma: Will Audi snatch him up?

Haas is poised to part ways with Nico Hulkenberg at the end of the year.

Following his recruitment by former Haas team leader Gunther Steiner in place of Mick Schumacher last year, the 36-year-old made a remarkable return from retirement, immediately delivering impressive performances.

This situation has put veteran Haas racer Kevin Magnussen’s future at risk. Ayao Komatsu, the new chief at Haas, conveyed to Denmark’s Ekstra Bladet that extending the 31-year-old’s contract beyond 2025 remains uncertain.

Nevertheless, it seems Haas is eager to keep Hulkenberg aboard. “There is a team that is really putting pressure on the driver market at the moment,” Komatsu revealed during an interview with Sky Deutschland in Shanghai.

This pressure is likely coming from Sauber, now wholly owned by Audi. The team is said to have extended a tempting three-year contract offer to Carlos Sainz for the years 2025 to 2027.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, a representative from the team, hinted at their proactive stance in the market while in China. “There are 14 drivers without a fixed contract for next year,” he noted, adding, “So we are speaking with different drivers.”

“Let me just say that we are happy to play a different role in the driver market for the future thanks to Audi’s announcement and all the investment that will be done in order to improve our team,” Bravi further commented.

“Finally we are attractive and we are not spectators – we are a player in the market,” Bravi stated, emphasizing their enhanced position.

The competition for seats in 2025 is heating up, with current Sauber drivers Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou also feeling the heat. Notable names like Hulkenberg, Sainz, Sergio Perez, and Sebastian Vettel are all rumoured to be in contention for a spot.

Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, believes Hulkenberg is an ideal candidate for Audi. “I would definitely recommend him to Audi at this point,” he advised during his interaction with Sky Deutschland in Shanghai. “He is a very, very good candidate for one of the cockpits, with a lot of experience. He would be a very good fit.”

GMM

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