Nico Hulkenberg says contract talks aside, he’ll meet with Gene Haas this weekend with the team owner attending the Hungarian GP.
Formula 1’s newest bleach blonde, this season Hulkenberg returned to the grid in his first full-time ride since he was dropped by Renault at end of the 2019 season with the German replacing his compatriot Mick Schumacher at Haas.
Despite his long-term absence, he has been Haas’ star driver with several Q3 appearances, including an impressive P2 in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Nico Hulkenberg: I think it works both ways at the moment
Although he’s only managed nine points, P7 in Australia before scoring in Austria’s sprint race, it is evident that has more to do with Haas’ performance, or lack thereof, in grands prix than the driver’s own ability.
In fact such has been Hulkenberg’s pace, team boss Guenther Steiner has hinted that a new contract is a mere formality.
“We’ve already talked about it,” the Italian told Sport.de. “But it’s nicer when you can do it in person than by phone or video call. It won’t take us long.
“He’s [team owner Haas] coming there so hopefully, we can announce it as soon as possible. We’re happy with him.”
Hulkenberg, though, played coy when that was put to him by the media in Budapest.
“I’ll sit down with him regardless,” he said. “Maybe there is no deal to be done? Maybe a deal is in place? Who knows?
“I’m pretty happy and relaxed. I think it works both ways at the moment, and I’m enjoying myself. I think the team is also in a good place. So, there’s no reason not to think why that relationship shouldn’t continue like this.”
But while the German looks set for a second season with Haas, his team-mate Kevin Magnussen’s future isn’t as secure with the Dane sitting on two points after 10 races.
Asked about his contract situation, Steiner said: “We’ll have to see. Logically, Kevin also knows that he has to catch up with Nico.
“Nico is just better at the moment. Kevin has no problem admitting that either.”
Although Haas have made it known several times since his McLaren exit that they’re interested in Daniel Ricciardo, back on the grid this season with AlphaTauri, the Aussie is expected to stay there next season as he bids for a Red Bull return.
Steiner added: “Hopefully, we can announce our driver pairing soon.”