F1 pundit Peter Windsor has branded Haas’s driver line-up “boring” after Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen were confirmed for the F1 2024 season at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Haas have endured a difficult campaign in 2023 and sit eighth in the Constructors’ standings with just 11 points ahead of the final nine rounds.
Signed as Mick Schumacher’s replacement for this year, Hulkenberg has excelled upon his return to F1 with outstanding qualifying performances in wet conditions in Canada and Austria.
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In his second season back since his own spell away from the F1 grid, meanwhile, Magnussen has two points finishes to Hulkenberg’s one but by his own admission has struggled to get to grips with the VF-23 car.
Both drivers were in team principal Guenther Steiner’s bad books at Zandvoort, where practice crashes for Hulkenberg and Magnussen destroyed Haas’s front wings.
Speaking via a recent YouTube stream, 1992 title-winning Williams team manager Windsor understands Haas’s logic in retaining Hulkenberg and Magnussen – but suggested that the team’s crash-strewn weekend may have left them with second thoughts.
The Australian claimed Schumacher and Nyck de Vries, dropped by AlphaTauri after 10 races of 2023, may have made more sense if Hulkenberg and Magnussen were making such elementary errors.
And he bemoaned the fact that F1’s American team are yet to run a US-born driver in F1, putting forward Logan Sargeant – who secured his first Q3 appearance for Williams at Zandvoort – and IndyCar star Colton Herta, strongly linked with McLaren and AlphaTauri last year, as potential names.
He said: “I don’t know how much [Steiner] gets involved with the driver choice and how they run the team.
“Bearing in mind both those old guys, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, you re-sign those two because you think: ‘Right, we’re not going to take any more risks with these young guys, we’ve got some reasonable results out of them, let’s just stick with it because these two are always going to bring the car home, they’re not going to do silly things.’
“And then what happened? The first race after they’ve re-signed for 2024, they both have shunts! You’d be thinking: ‘Wow, maybe we’d be better off with Mick Schumacher and Nyck de Vries or something.’
“It’s a fully old world, isn’t it? To me, it’s a little bit of a boring driver choice, I must say.
“I like Nico Hulkenberg, I think he’s a great guy; Kevin Magnussen, we saw that moment in the race with Alex Albon when Alex got on the radio with dismay: ‘Woah, what was that?’
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“It was Kevin Magnussen coming across at the last minute and Kevin was eyeing up somebody in front and Albon was catching Kevin quite quickly from the DRS.
“I was a bit surprised by that actually, because the implication from it all was that Alex Albon was caught by surprise by Kevin Magnussen’s sudden move to the right.
“Kevin Magnussen’s been doing that throughout his Formula 1 career, so why would Alex be surprised by that? Maybe he’s never raced with him before. Very odd that he’d be surprised. Having said that, maybe he was just putting all that on just to make sure the stewards were aware what was happening.
“You know with Kevin Magnussen there’s always going to be one of those. He’s a pretty tough, hard driver to have alongside you if you’re actually racing with him. Very tough guy.
“So you’ve got that, you’ve got Nico – two solid guys, what can you say?
“It’s a shame, isn’t it? It’d be wonderful to see a young American in there, it’s an American team.
“We’ve seen now how well Logan Sargeant’s going at Williams – I think he’s doing a really good job – and there’s room for more Americans, that’s for sure.
“Colton Herta is a guy that springs to mind and there are plenty of others.”
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