Haas 0-2 as Nico Hulkenberg delivers worrying verdict on development

Michelle Foster
Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg aerial look at his VF-23 with its Red Bull styled sidepods.

Gene Haas says his team's results have been embarrassing.

Declaring both the early-season VF-23 and the later B-spec version “aren’t good enough”, Nico Hulkenberg says Haas have to reconsider their development path ahead of next season.

Although Haas’ 2023 car was quick out of the blocks in qualifying, it proved to be a tyre-eater, raising questions about whether it was the car’s Ferrari parts that were causing the issue as the Scuderia suffered the same drama.

But swapping over to a more Red Bull-styled design at the United States Grand Prix, Haas not only didn’t eradicate that problem, they created more.

‘It was not the step forward that we needed from a big update’

Although the team saw some improvements in low-speed performance, they took a “big hit” in high-speed performance. And the car, yet to score a single point in three races, continued to destroy its tyres.

It had Hulkenberg and Haas making the call to put the German back onto the old-spec VF-23 for the final two races of this season while his teammate Kevin Magnussen sticks with the new version.

Hulkenberg explained the decision during Thursday’s driver press conference ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend.

“We had three races with the new package and whilst there were maybe some small benefits, there were also some not-so-good aspects with it,” he said.

“It was not the step forward that we needed from a big update.

“I think I just felt a little bit more comfortable and confident on the old package. And I think with the two circuits that we have here now, it favours that slightly more so hence that call.”

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It begs the question if the team drivers want such different things from the car, where do Haas go with their 2024 development?

Hulkenberg says they need to “reconsider” their ideas.

“Just means we have to reconsider. Both of them aren’t good enough,” he said.

“We need to do a better job, we need to find performance elsewhere, and yeah, just reconsider and look harder and deeper.”

Haas have fallen to 10th in the Constructors’ standings in the last few races, losing out to Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri. Alfa Romeo are four points ahead with AlphaTauri a further five away.

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