An Emotional F1 Return for Magnussen & Hulkenberg? Haas Boss Gives Major Hints

Published 09/24/2021, 8:04 AM EDT
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Racing Point reacts in parc ferme during the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone in Northampton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)


Haas F1 has confirmed its driver lineup for 2022. However, the team looks to further improve ahead of the 2022 season. To do so, team principal Guenther Steiner looks to keep an experienced reserve driver on the team to help with the car’s development.

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Recruiting two rookies to the team hasn’t been the best decision for Haas. As a result, Steiner explained, “we have no reference, the reference is missing.” The team currently has Pietro Fittipaldi as a reserve driver, who stepped in for Grosjean in 2020 for two races.

Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 4, 2021 Haas’ Nikita Mazepin in action during practice REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Steiner expects a lot of work and hopes to get the most out of the reserve driver next season. As a result, Mazepin and Schumacher would have to give up their driving time for the third driver to experiment with the car.

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Although he hasn’t decided yet, the Italian wants his team to improve next season; an experienced reserve driver would be well-versed to give the team valuable input – ” I just hope that our car is stable enough that they can get everything out as much as possible. The better the car is, the easier it is for them to develop it.”

Who would Haas F1 want to pitch in?

The driver market is almost shut with only one pending seat. However, can we expect some sort of comeback, even if it is for a third seat? Haas has some very appealing options in front of them.

While Romain Grosjean enjoys his time at IndyCar, his former Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen could be a safe option for Haas. Having been unexpectedly sacked from Haas, would he choose to come back? While the reserve driver position could put him back on the market for 2023, will Magnussen take that step?

Currently driving for hip Ganassi Racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Magnussen left F1 ready for the next chapter of his career. However, ahead of his final race, the Danish driver said“in motorsport, you never say never. I know lots of things can happen and you should never say never.” Will the never say never carry on if asked to return to Haas? Or is Magnussen done with his time in F1?

If Haas is filtering out experienced drivers, fan-favorite Nico Hulkenberg would be another happy choice. Having teased his name around the market for the 2022 season, it saddened both fans and the driver to see opportunities close. Will the team provide a comeback for the Hulk?

Currently a reserve driver for Aston Martin, it seems unlikely that the driver would switch to another reserve driver position. Having won the Le Mans 24, it seems like Nico would prefer spending his time racing, rather than on the sidelines. But if Haas comes up with the perfect offer, would he switch teams?

Other options for the team

Since the former F1 drivers have been busy after leaving the sport, Haas has several junior drivers at hand. Although Steiner wouldn’t want another new member to his team the junior drivers could help with the new car’s testing as well.

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Guanyu Zhou would be perfect for the American outfit. Currently vying for the last Alfa Romeo seat, the Chinese driver could also bring in much-needed funds for Haas. Zhou is also the test driver for the Alpine team and would know how to handle the responsibilities Steiner expects at for the team.

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Further, F2 champion leader Oscar Piastri would appreciate the opening into the big league. However, Alpine boss, Laurent Rossi may have his eyes set on Piastri as well. If Steiner is to upgrade his team and recruit a new reserve driver, he would have to make a move fast.

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Shreya Sanjeev

447 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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