Kevin Magnussen relishing start of new ‘relationship’ with Nico Hulkenberg at Haas

Jon Wilde
Kevin Magnussen at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungaroring July 2022.

Kevin Magnussen with a serious expression at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungaroring July 2022.

Kevin Magnussen believes Nico Hulkenberg’s experience will be a “great asset” to Haas when the duo form their driver line-up next year.

Hulkenberg has been chosen to race for Haas over Mick Schumacher, his fellow German who spent the last two seasons with the team but was not kept on for a third after crashing more often than he finished in the points.

Instead, Guenther Steiner and team owner Gene Haas have opted to hire a driver with whom Magnussen had a contretemps in the media interview area after the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix, which ended with the Dane telling his rival to “suck my b***s”.

It marks a completely different situation for Haas to the start of the 2021 campaign when Schumacher and his then team-mate Nikita Mazepin had zero grand prix starts between them – for Magnussen and Hulkenberg, the combined total is 322.

It is that experience which Magnussen sees as being an advantage for Haas in 2023 with his 35-year-old new colleague a known quantity, even though he has not raced full time in F1 since 2019.

“He will bring a lot of experience,” Magnussen told media including PlanetF1. “It’s well known that experience is invaluable in Formula 1.

“I feel he was always someone that was just about to get a top drive in his F1 career – he was always one of the good drivers and consistent ones, getting good results in a midfield car.

“That’s what we need him to do here as well.”

Magnussen was asked about his relationship with Hulkenberg, who had opted for a light-hearted ice-breaker when the pair bumped into each other at the start of this season while the German was deputising for Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin.

“We don’t really have a relationship. Everyone talks about our little thing in Hungary back in 2017. Of course, that’s what everyone brings up,” said the 30-year-old.

“But actually, I have a lot of respect for him as a driver and I said that even before he was joining our team.

“I don’t know him as a person yet. I’ll get to know him next year and I’m looking forward to that. I think he will be a great asset for the team.”

However, Magnussen also had sympathy for Schumacher, for he also knows how it feels to be ousted by Haas for it happened to he and Romain Grosjean at the same time as the 2020 season drew to a close.

“It’s a double-sided thing because on one hand it’s exciting, getting someone like Nico in with all his experience and capabilities,” said Magnussen.

“On the other hand, I feel bad for Mick because I know how that feels and I’ve been in that situation myself.”

Read more – Mark Webber: Hulkenberg to Haas a poor reflection on young driver talent pool