“We’ve made very good progress in a very little amount of time” — Hülkenberg praises Haas’ turnaround after double points finish in F1 Australian GP

Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg shared insights into how strategic decisions and a collaborative team environment have led to successful outcomes in recent races.

When asked about the team’s approach to strategy, Hülkenberg noted the importance of adaptability, especially when starting from less advantageous positions.

At Albert Park on Sunday, the German started on hards and ran as high as P6 as the medium runners boxed early. A VSC at the right time opened up the race for him.

“It usually does. I think there’s a 70-80% succession rate on if you’re at the back, you know you have to do something,” he remarked. With an 80% success rate in executing these strategies according to the Haas driver, Hülkenberg and his team have demonstrated the ability to make significant progress during races, attributing this success to good race pace and effective execution.

“Race pace was good enough, let’s say, within the midfield to push our luck and to do something.”

Reflecting on the team’s pre-season expectations, Hülkenberg acknowledged the surprising progress made in a short amount of time. Haas had been expected to be the slowest team in 2024, even predicted by their new boss Ayao Komatsu.

However, they have exceeded expectations to date.

“I think we’ve made very good progress in a very little amount of time, actually,” he said, attributing the improvement to the aerodynamics team’s efforts, which addressed previous issues and enhanced the car’s performance and tyre characteristics.

“Actually, in December, [that’s] where the aero guys found a lot of performance and somehow straightened out the aero map problems we had last year,” he explained.

“That just means much more consistency on Sunday and therefore better tyre life and characteristics.”

The discussion also touched upon the challenges posed by tyre selection during the Australian Grand Prix. Hülkenberg started on hards but grained his first set of them in the opening stint.

He rejoined after his stop under the VSC in P12, and he would go on to pass Albon for 10th after Magnussen had let him through a few laps earlier. The crash of Russell moved him up another spot at the end.

The 36-year-old felt the medium was a better tyre on the day, and he showed it during his one stint on it.

“Yeah, I mean, they were still tricky. I started on the hard, and even after a few laps, I was starting to suffer with graining already. It was a bit unexpected. I was hoping they would last longer.

“I think actually the medium was probably the best tyre today,” he said.

Teamwork has been a critical factor in the team’s recent successes, with Hülkenberg praising his relationship with teammate Kevin Magnussen, including the Dane letting him by during yesterday’s race to go after Albon.

“We are working as a team, as a couple,” he stated.

“I think we also want very similar things from the car, pulling in one direction, which is always very good for a team, so they can really go in one way.

“On and off track we get on, so it’s good.