Steiner: Hulkenberg giving Haas 'what it's looking for'

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Guenther Steiner says F1 returnee Nico Hulkenberg is already giving the US outfit "what its is looking for" this season thanks in large part to the German driver's vast experience.

Haas opted to reverse course this season regarding its driver line-up, choosing to rely on the proven skills and experience of Hulkenberg and teammate Kevin Magnussen rather than on the still raw talent of Mick Schumacher who had been previously associated with Nikita Mazepin.

So far, the results have been satisfactory while, perhaps more importantly, there are no damage bills to report.

Hulkenberg outqualified Magnussen in Bahrain and in Jeddah, but it was the Dane who delivered to Haas its first point of 2023 thanks to his P10 finish in Saudi Arabia.

"I think he has given us what we were looking for," said Steiner, commenting on Hulkenberg's performance. "And we could see it immediately. I mean, Kevin struggled in qualifying, Nico didn't.

"But Kevin is not upset about it. Actually he is pretty happy that Nico didn't struggle, because he knows he just needs to get there.

"Otherwise, it was like, 'what is wrong here?' To be qualified 15th and 18th, it's just like a disaster?

"But we got into Q3 pretty, pretty strong [in Bahrain]. So Kevin knows it's there. He just needs to get there."

Having two drivers with a proven reliability record undeniably helps Haas' budget constraints admits Steiner, as well as it alleviates stress levels within the team.

"That's why we took him [Hulkenberg]," he said. "You think I say that with hindsight, but we all know that with this regulation that was the direction everyone is going.

"There are 10 good teams there. Now, they're all working on a very similar budget, they have got all good drivers, they're all solid financially, they're all solid technically.

"So what is happening is that it's getting closer, everything. And little - or rather big! - things like a driver will make a difference, just to get the best out immediately.

"And that is what we wanted, just an experienced driver who can get us in that direction. So obviously, we are pretty happy with what happened."

As for the working relationship between its drivers, as seasoned professionals, both Hulkenberg and Magnussen have agreed not to trip over each other or go head to head out on the track, for the benefit of the team.

"We have a policy at Haas that we don't block each other, we don't fight each other," said Magnussen. "I can push to try and keep him behind, but I can't close the door and stuff like that.

"So it's kind of just being nice to each other and making sure that we are working for the team, and not for ourselves."

"I think it's a good rule," added Hulkenberg. "We don't want to make each other's lives harder. We're here to maximise our performance and score as a team. So I think we're perfectly fine."

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