Hulkenberg on Haas’ F1 tyre degradation issues: “The solution doesn’t lay on the street”

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Nico Hulkenberg has made an impressive return to the racing scene in 2023, consistently achieving high qualifying positions and displaying promising performances. However, he is well aware that the current tyre issues plaguing the Haas Formula 1 team on race day are not easily solvable. While understanding the root causes, Hulkenberg stresses that implementing a solution will require time and a multifaceted approach.

“I think we understand the cause and what happens and why it happens,” said the German driver after finishing last of the finishers in the Belgian GP. “But fixing it and bringing loads of performance, it doesn’t just lay on the street, it’s a bit more complex.”

Photo credit: Haas F1 Team Instagram

Despite excelling in qualifying, the Haas F1 car has struggled to maintain its pace and has experienced excessive tyre wear during races. Although the team acknowledges areas for improvement, Hulkenberg concedes that quick fixes are unlikely, and the process will demand complexity and time.

“I think we can still improve the situation this year. To what extent, that’s TBC, it’s down to us, and we have to prove it. But yeah, it’s a longer-term thing.”

Nevertheless, Hulkenberg remains hopeful regarding the team’s ability to enhance the car’s performance and competitiveness in the future. He emphasises that these improvements will not happen overnight and necessitate a long-term perspective.

As the summer break approaches, Haas F1 can take this time to regroup and strategize their approach for the remainder of the season.

“It’s [Spa weekend] been a pretty grim weekend for us,” he said. “So, [we will] write it off, reset, regroup and come back after the summer break, hopefully a bit stronger. I’ve got a fresh engine now. So let’s see how far that takes us.”

Photo credit: Haas F1 Team Instagram

One bright moment during Hulkenberg’s race emerged from his pitlane start when he swiftly gained positions on the first lap, overtaking Daniel Ricciardo and his teammate Kevin Magnussen. A traffic jam at the bottom of Eau Rouge caused other drivers to slow down to avoid crashing into Oscar Piastri, creating an opportunity for Hulkenberg to make progress.

“I passed Danny after the top of Eau Rouge,” he said. “I mean, there was a massive pile-up at the bottom of Eau Rouge. They all had to lift and give way to each other not to crash and I just came down closing the gap full gas, and that was pretty funny.”