Ex-Formula 1 race winner Ralf Schumacher has warned that Nico Hulkenberg is growing impatient at Haas with the American outfit “at a dead end”.

Sebastian Vettel’s retirement at the end of 2022 paired with Mick Schumacher trading places with his compatriot at Haas, Hulkenberg is currently Germany’s sole flag-bearer in F1.

After finding himself without a contract for the 2020 season, Hulkenberg filled in as a reserve driver in four grands prix for Racing Point/Aston Martin in his two years on the sideline.

A call-up to Haas for 2023 may have been a lifeline for the veteran’s career, but despite his quick re-acclimatisation to competition, points finishes have been hard to come by.

The Kannapolis-based squad have slumped to the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship with only two rounds remaining.

“Hulkenberg also realizes that Haas is at a dead end with everything they do. Haas is probably no longer up to date to be able to compete in the current Formula 1,” Schumacher said of Haas’ current footing in a recent column for Sky Germany.

Despite seven Q3 appearances, Hulkenberg’s sole points finish in a grand prix in 2023 came at the third round of the season in Australia.

“[It’s] a shame for Hulkenberg,” Schumacher added. “You get the feeling that he’s dealing with the situation openly and honestly, but maybe he’s also hoping that he can get out of it somehow.

“His statements and his face speak volumes. I understand him because he doesn’t have forever anymore either. He can still do it. He has experienced 200 grands prix and hasn’t even been on the podium. It’s clear that he’s getting impatient.”

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas VF-23.
05.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Race Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Price / XPB Images

Haas has been hamstrung throughout the 2023 campaign, with the American outfit’s evident one-lap speed curtailed by poor race performance owing to tyre degradation concerns.

The team has only accrued a solitary point – Kevin Magnussen’s 10th place in Singapore – since the Miami Grand Prix in May.

Last time out in Sao Paulo, Hulkenberg would only manage to cross the line 12th in a race that saw six retirements and two drivers placed one lap down by Lap 3.

“[He] benefited from a few retirements, but in the end he couldn’t do better than twelfth place,” Schumacher noted.

“The Haas update doesn’t seem to work, the tire wear is incredibly high. Haas gave Hülkenberg the chance to get back to Formula 1. That’s why I think it’s fair and right that he stayed at Haas.”

In recent months, Hulkenberg has been heavily linked with a move to Sauber, which will become Audi’s factory entry in 2026.

While Audi has expressed preference for a German driver to fill one of its seats, Hulkenberg remains committed to Haas despite having held tentative discussions with Sauber.

“When Audi finally starts in 2026, it is still up in the air whether they will be a top team or not. They’ll have to prove it first, and they’ll have to deliver. So there are still some question marks,” Hulkenberg told Sky Germany in October.

“I’m currently at home here [at Haas] and everything else is in the stars.”

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