Yet to score a point in the B-spec VF-23, Nico Hulkenberg fears Haas could be in for a “similar” 2024 season unless they figure out where they’ve gone wrong with their aerodynamics.
Admitting earlier this year that the VF-23 as it was would never be a contender and having reached a dead end on how to extract more pace, Haas opted to design an all-new car.
That, based on the Red Bull downwash concept, hit the track at the United States Grand Prix but three Sundays later it has yet to score a single point.
Nico Hulkenberg: We actually needed a real step forward in performance
That’s cost Haas in the championship as their troubles have coincided with improvements from AlphaTauri and even Alfa Romeo, both teams moving ahead of them in the standings.
Hulkenberg says the B-spec VF-23 is just not a step forward, in fact in some ways it is “worse” than its predecessor.
“It’s not a clear step forward. We understand that now and we know that,” he told Sky Deutschland.
“It feels similar in some places, better in some and worse in some. At the end of the day it’s balanced.
“But we actually needed a real step forward in performance. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
The German, already having committed to Haas for next year’s championship, is worried about what comes next.
“We have to go into it and see how we approach the topics of car concept and aerodynamics for next year,” he added.
“Aerodynamics is currently our biggest weak point and we have to address that. Otherwise, it will be next year run similarly.”
One position shy of a point at the United States Grand Prix, Hulkenberg was 13th in Mexico and 12th in Brazil.
In the latter he lost positions in both the Sprint and the Grand Prix, his VF-23 once again struggling with tyre wear.
“It’s not ideal and it’s bitter on Sunday afternoon – on Monday and Tuesday too. By Wednesday I’ve usually digested it again and live my life. Sundays aren’t usually that much fun,” he added.
Hulkenberg, though, could yet score a point from the United States Grand Prix after Haas requested a right to review the classification after post-race video evidence showed several drivers repeatedly exceeding track limits.
The virtual hearing of the stewards will be held via video conference on Wednesday, November 8th with representatives from Haas, Red Bull, Aston Martin, and Williams summoned.