Haas needs the summer break to reset after a tough first part of the season but will only be able to improve with upgrades to its car, according to Nico Hulkenberg.
Haas scored 11 points across three of the first five races in an encouraging start to 2023, but despite multiple Q3 appearances since then the team has failed to add to its tally as it struggles with tire degradation and race pace. After a Belgian Grand Prix where Hulkenberg started from the pit lane and finished 18th, he says Haas is in need of the time off in August as well as car improvements.
“A pretty grim weekend for us,” Hulkenberg said. “Write it off, reset and regroup and come back after the summer break hopefully a bit stronger.
“Yeah we need (the break) but what we really need is some upgrades. Some real performance to help ourselves, that’s what we need. (Spa-Francorchamps) again exposes the weaknesses of our car very much. That’s why we’ve not been competitive in any session on any lap really. A lot of work to do.
“I think we understand the cause and what happens and why it happens but fixing it and bringing loads of performance doesn’t just lay on the street. It’s a bit more complex.”
Hulkenberg insists 2023 is not a write-off for Haas despite the struggles, but believes the weaknesses the team is facing are best fixed with a new car that can change the overall characteristics.
“We can still improve the situation this year. To what extent? That’s TBC, down to us and we have to prove it. It’s a longer-term thing for sure.”
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says Spa was a race that displayed all the hallmarks of this year’s ongoing issues but highlights the team’s overall execution as being a positive.
“We couldn’t fight with the others and if we go into overtime with our tires, we just get slower, and that’s what happened again,” Steiner said. “We know our deficit, we’re working on it and hopefully we can resolve it fast but all in all, the team did a good job. For Nico to change his car around, it was all executed very well. Now we go on summer break, and hopefully come back stronger.”