Haas F1 has confirmed that its driver lineup for the 2024 season will include both Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen. This announcement comes in the wake of a decision to part ways with young talent Mick Schumacher following two costly car crashes that led to the abandonment of planned 2022 upgrades due to budgetary constraints.
Gunther Steiner, Team Principal for Haas, applauded the experience that Hulkenberg and Magnussen bring to the table. The changed format of the season, which now includes six sprint races with only a single practice session before qualifying, necessitates that drivers are ready to perform from the week’s start.
James Vowles, Williams team boss, has expressed concern over the current F1 setup. He believes that the recent modifications, along with the implementation of the Alternative Tyre Allocation (ATA) qualifying format, necessitate a fresh review of F1’s structure. He warns that the current scenario might inadvertently facilitate veteran drivers while obstructing new talent from emerging.
Vowles, who formerly led strategy at Mercedes, stated, “How we are now with the ATA format, sprint race format, wet weather as well appearing pretty much most weekends — you’re in a situation where [a rookie driver’s] learning cycle is significantly reduced relative to what I knew five, 10, 15 years ago.” He went on to add, “I think it’s probably worthy of a rethink at certain levels as to what we can do to help drivers in that circumstance because, ultimately, we will get ourselves into a position where we’re not adding new drivers at the rate we want to.”
The outgoing AlphaTauri boss, Franz Tost, voiced concerns regarding the current F1 calendar, particularly the inclusion of races in Saudi Arabia, Melbourne, and Miami — tracks that FIA F2 graduates have limited experience with. According to Tost, the lucrative nature of modern F1 has reduced a team’s motivation to back rookies.
Tost, who estimates that a driver needs up to 6000km of private testing before entering F1, noted that it has become increasingly challenging for rookie drivers to break into Formula 1 in recent years. He stated, “Why? First of all, the field is very, very close together. The direction will go the way that you try to have experienced drivers in because otherwise you are at the back of the constructors’ championship.” In his cautionary sentiment, Tost added, “If you want to bring in a rookie driver, you really have to prepare him in the best possible way or else no chance.”