The seven potential Haas candidates for F1 2025 seat after Nico Hulkenberg exit

Oliver Harden
A four-image collage of Sergio Perez, Oliver Bearman, Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas and a centralised Haas logo

Who will replace Nico Hulkenberg in 2025? Haas are not short of potential options

Nico Hulkenberg’s decision to join Sauber/Audi leaves a vacant spot alongside Kevin Magnussen at Haas for the F1 2025 season.

So who could be racing for F1’s only US team next year? Let’s take a look at the main runners and riders – and some outside contenders too…

Who will replace Nico Hulkenberg at Haas in F1 2025?

Oliver Bearman

The obvious candidate, surely?

Ever since he jumped into Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari at short notice and delivered a seventh-placed finish with aplomb in Saudi Arabia, Oliver Bearman has seemed almost destined to race for Haas in 2025.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Follow PlanetF1.com’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!

The 10 drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2024 season

 

His results in F2 in the weeks since have not been stellar, but have been rendered pretty immaterial by that single performance.

That one-race cameo in Jeddah was enough to confirm – to Ferrari, to Haas, to anyone else watching – that Bearman is ready.

Valtteri Bottas

Ah, but don’t you remember that Haas aren’t so keen on signing rookie drivers? At least they weren’t in Guenther Steiner’s day anyway.

If they’re looking for as close to a like-for-like replacement for Hulkenberg as they can possibly get, Valtteri Bottas could emerge as a solid (if uninspiring) short-term option if he is let go by Sauber/Audi.

Unlike fellow veteran Hulkenberg, the natural pace isn’t quite as consistently accessible as it used to be.

But in those little moments on a low-grip surface, you can see the Bottas of old is still in there somewhere.

Zhou Guanyu

No wonder he was so emotional at the end of the race in China.

As he burst into tears in front of the main grandstand in Shanghai, Zhou Guanyu was very likely aware that – with the signing of Hulkenberg imminent – his first-ever home race could also prove to be his last.

Zhou has not developed in the way it was hoped since he became F1’s first-ever full-time Chinese driver in 2022, but with the sport now back racing in Shanghai the commercial benefits of keeping him around could be quite attractive to a team of Haas’s stature.

Pierre Gasly

With the arrival of Audi, Haas are poised to become the only Ferrari customer team on the grid in 2026 – a potentially significant development for making the team more attractive to ambitious drivers.

Romain Grosjean famously joined Haas back in 2016 with half an eye on a Ferrari seat, hoping the Scuderia’s access to his data would make him an attractive option once Kimi Raikkonen eventually moved on.

It backfired spectacularly, of course, but Haas’s greater prominence in Ferrari’s eyes could soon force others down the same line of thinking.

Step forward Pierre Gasly who, with his career going nowhere at Alpine, might take one step back with the aim of taking two forward.

Esteban Ocon

Oddly, despite his relatively low profile and being outclassed by Gasly in 2023, Esteban Ocon has been linked more heavily with Audi than his Alpine team-mate.

He will be crossing everything that Carlos Sainz declines Audi’s “very lucrative offer” (Helmut Marko’s words), opening the door for him to partner Hulkenberg.

But if not? The same logic behind Gasly joining Haas could easily apply to him too.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo memorably decided against a move to Haas after leaving McLaren in 2022, preferring to spend that start of 2023 on the sidelines rather than grace one of F1’s smaller teams with his presence.

Yet now his career is really up F1 creek without a paddle, could Haas prove a safe landing spot if he is squeezed out of the Red Bull system to make way for Liam Lawson?

A scene in the latest series of Drive to Survive shows Ricciardo explaining his reluctance to pursue opportunities outside of F1 in early 2023, insisting he still thinks of himself as a grand prix driver. It’s part of his identity, he effectively says.

So if it comes to a straight choice between a Haas seat and the end of his F1 career, Daniel is almost certainly taking the Haas seat.

Sergio Perez

After another typically strong start to an F1 season, Sergio Perez appears to be inching ever closer to a new Red Bull contract.

But what if, like 2022/23, it all suddenly goes wrong?

What if Red Bull have a change of heart? What if the availability of Sainz is too appealing to ignore?

Perez, one of just three drivers to win a race since the start of 2023 and with considerable financial backing on his side, would then emerge as a serious candidate for every available seat on the 2025 grid.

It would be a simple matter of whether, aged 34 and after spending the best days of his career in a Red Bull, he would want to stick around.

Read next: The winners and losers of Nico Hulkenberg’s confirmed move to Audi