With Mick Schumacher reportedly having been informed of his Haas exit, Rubens Barrichello says he feels for the German but believes Nico Hulkenberg is a good option for Haas.
Schumacher has failed to set the stage alight in his two seasons in Formula 1, which has led to growing pressure – and comments – from his Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.
The Italian admitted earlier this year the 23-year-old is not guaranteed a place at the team come 2023 and that, it is being reported, is about to come to pass.
Haas are expected to confirm later this week that former F1 driver turned super sub Hulkenberg will replace his compatriot as Kevin Magnussen’s team-mate.
Barrichello believes his former Williams team-mate is the right choice.
“Honestly, Hulk is a really really good driver for me,” he said on Sky Sports’ ‘Any Driven Monday’.
“He impressed me more than anything else, not just from the times we were together at Williams.
“He was called last minute for Silverstone, and when you’re not driving in Formula One, even though you go to the gym and you keep fit and so on, it’s not easy.
“I mean the cars now, the G forces and everything, they’re tough and he jumped into the car and he was extremely fast.
“So although I have a lot of sympathy for Mick, and I really hope he gets his chance still in a competitive car, Hulk is a driver that deserves to be back.
“He’s still young, and if he has the will, I mean, I think he will deliver.”
A sentiment echoed by other former drivers
Barrichello is not the only former driver who believes Hulkenberg can do the job for Haas, but that it will depend on his motivation.
Another former team-mate of the German’s, Jolyon Palmer, spoke with him mid-season where a dejected Hulkenberg told him he thinks he’s “done” with Formula 1.
Palmer revealed: “I spoke to Nico in the summer and he was saying ‘I think I’ve done here, I’ve got nothing more, I don’t think I’m going to get back on the grid’.
“I spoke to Nico in the summer and he was saying ‘I think I’ve done here, I’ve got nothing more, I don’t think I’m gonna get back on the grid’.
“Suddenly this opportunity comes to him and you can see why Haas are needing or wanting experienced drivers. He’s shown what he can do.
“A bit harsh maybe on Mick but I think he [Hulkenberg] is ready for it.”
“So long as he’s motivated in the return,” said Palmer, “and he’s not going through the motions at this stage, if he’s motivated and hungry for it to try and bring the team forward I think Hulkenberg is probably going to come out as the better shell.”
A Wednesday announcement?
Speaking after the Interlagos weekend, another race outside for the points for Schumacher, he told the media: “Sometimes it’s your year and sometimes it’s not – and this year was probably not mine.
“We still have one race left and we’ll give it our all again.”
It is being reported he already knows he’s gone, told by Steiner at Interlagos this past weekend.
Speaking in Brazil, the team boss revealed that “yes” he had made a decision and that we’d be told some time this week.
That’s because Tuesday is being spent ironing out the finer details with Hulkenberg before signing the contract, confirmation of it reportedly coming on Wednesday.