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Nico Hulkenberg’s Move to Audi Speeding up Driver Market, According to Komatsu

Komatsu said it was one team specifically driving the market, but he didn’t mention them by name....

It has been reported that Nico Hulkenberg is set to sign with Stake F1 Team for 2025 which Haas team principal, Ayao Komatsu, stated has accelerated the driver market. He expects most drivers to have signed a contract “by the end of May.”

Komatsu said it was one team specifically driving the market, but he didn’t mention them by name. It has been speculated this team is Stake Sauber, i.e. Audi, due to the speculation surrounding Hulkenberg.

“There’s obviously one team who’s really pushing to get this driver market moving quickly, right?” he said.

“It’s difficult to say. It’s within the next two months, I think. By the end of May, I think most drivers will be signed up [for next season]. That’s my expectation.”

This has prompted Komatsu to speed up his efforts before he misses out on an exciting signing.

“That’s the market, isn’t it. If you don’t do anything in that time, everybody else is signed up,” he said.

“Of course, everybody is active at this minute, but the exact timing? Honestly, some drivers it could be this week, next week. Some could be in the European stage [of the season].

“I am proactive. You have to be proactive in these instances. If you’re not proactive, you just lose out,” he responded when asked how much of a role he takes in those discussions.

“You’ve got to be aware of the market, you’ve got to do the best you can. I’m trying to do the best I can with all the help I can get.”

Despite Komatsu only being Haas’ team principal for a few months, he is confident that he knows what the team needs thanks to his technical knowledge (not to mention his many years at the team).

“… in terms of with my technical background, I know what kind of we need,” he explained.

“Especially if you look at how team, how we are, what kind of capability we’ve got, or we haven’t got – that defines what kind of driver we need, and what kind of combination of drivers we need.

“So, from that side, I think our objective target is reasonably clear.”

Who Will Drive for Haas in 2025?

To be speculative for a moment, is Haas after experience or young talent? Oliver Bearman has been linked to a seat at Haas after his performance with Ferrari in Saudi Arabia, but the last time the team banked on rookies, they ended up bankrupt. Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin put the car in the wall more often than the team would’ve liked and in response to that, they hired two very experienced drivers Kevin Magnussen and Hulkenberg.

Magnussen has had his fair share of incidents that have handed Haas a sizeable bill. However, he has been a loyal and hardworking member of the team for quite a few years at this point, but was that loyalty to former team principal, Guenther Steiner, or Haas? Regardless, it doesn’t seem likely that Magnussen has opportunities elsewhere so he will be fighting to retain his seat.

The unsurprising answer to who will drive for Haas seems to be Bearman and Magnussen. Experience paired with young talent is common on F1 teams though perhaps Magnussen could be replaced by another experienced driver. It would have to depend on his results in the coming races.


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