Komatsu praises Hulkenberg’s impact on Haas after departure news

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu praised the impact Nico Hulkenberg has had on the team following confirmation the German will leave to join the Audi Formula 1 project at the end of the season.

Hulkenberg joined Haas in 2023 and duly scored nine of the team’s 12 points last year, as well as making multiple appearances in Q3 as his qualifying performances stood out. This year has been similarly productive so far, with Hulkenberg scoring points in three of the first five races, but he will not stay with Haas beyond the end of his current contract in order to join Stake in 2025, one year before the team becomes Audi.

With Haas showing a clear improvement in race performance this season — an area of struggle in 2023 — Komatsu says Hulkenberg has been central to that step forward.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to Nico for his contributions to the team in the time that he’s been here with us – he’s been a great team player and someone we very much enjoy working with,” Komatsu said.

“His experience and feedback have proved invaluable to us in terms of improving our overall performance – a fact that’s clearly evident in both his qualifying and race performances in the VF-24 this season. There’s lots more racing to go this year, so we look forward to continuing to benefit from his inputs throughout the remainder of the 2024 season.”

Haas says it will not name a replacement for Hulkenberg in the immediate future, although Ferrari reserve driver Ollie Bearman has been heavily linked with a race seat at Haas in 2025 following his FP1 outings and impressive one-off appearance for Ferrari at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last month.

Kevin Magnussen’s contract is also due to expire at the end of this season, with the Dane having been part of Haas’ lineup for all but two of the team’s years in F1.

Story originally appeared on Racer