Haas to reward Nico Hulkenberg ‘more than a bottle of beer or wine’ for maiden podium

Michelle Foster
Guenther Steiner laughing with Nico Hulkenberg. Bahrain February 2023

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner laughing with Nico Hulkenberg

On the board for Haas in Australia, Nico Hulkenberg and his new team are dreaming of a maiden podium for the German with Guenther Steiner offering an undisclosed reward but definitely “more than a bottle of beer or wine.”

Back on the Formula 1 grid this season, signed by Haas after three years as a reserve driver for Aston Martin, Hulkenberg’s number of race starts has climbed to 184.

That though also means 184 races without a single podium, an unwanted record on the German’s books.

He did, however, at least make his mark in the points column last time out at the Australian Grand Prix where he crossed the line in seventh place.

He was briefly P4 in the ensuing chaos of the day’s second restart, knocking on the door of the podium, only for the Race Director to put the order for the final restart back to the beginning of lap 56.

It begs the question what reward, if any, will be heading Hulkenberg’s way if he finally breaks his jinx and bags a first-ever F1 podium. Steiner isn’t saying.

“I’m not talking about driver contracts,” esssentiallysport quotes the Haas team boss as having told ntv, “but he’ll definitely get something.

“I can be open about it – he won’t be angry. It will be more than a bottle of beer or wine.”

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“There’s always an incentive,” he added, “but it’s not just a material thing for Nico. We all know he’s a very good Formula 1 driver, but he’s never been on the podium.

“For him, that would also be a crowning achievement for his career. It would also be nice for Haas.”

With two experienced drivers behind the wheel, Hulkenberg partnering Kevin Magnussen, Steiner believes it’s just a matter of time before Haas bag their first double points finish of the season.

“That was the whole thing — how can we bring the team forward?” Steiner told Racer, “And Kevin is part of the team. I think it’s a motivation — not only for him, it’s also he can see that if he cannot find his set-up he has got a very experienced team-mate to lean on. And that’s what he [Hulkenberg] is doing.

“He was strong (in Melbourne), maybe not as strong as in Jeddah but he said it himself that in qualifying he made a mistake at Turn 6 on his Q2 lap and it didn’t work out. But he knew where it went wrong and the speed is there from the car and the drivers. If we continue like this there will be a race coming that both of them are getting into the points.

“It’s a very good feeling when you’re sitting there and you know that you can attack, you don’t only have to defend. You know you can attack and go out there to get something; it’s not like hoping that something goes wrong for somebody else — you know that you can do it with your own means.”