Nico Hulkenberg is a front-running candidate to replace Mick Schumacher at Haas next season, multiple sources have told ESPN.
Hulkenberg last raced full-time in F1 with Renault in 2019 but has made a handful of substitute appearances for Racing Point and Aston Martin in the years since as a COVID-19 stand-in.
Hulkenberg has a good relationship with Haas boss Guenther Steiner and is considered an experienced and reliable driver for a team looking to move up the competitive order next season.
With Daniel Ricciardo looking increasingly likely to sit out the 2023 season, Haas’ serious options now appear to have whittled down to three: retaining Mick Schumacher, or replacing him with Hulkenberg or Antonio Giovinazzi.
Although a Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen pairing would bring up memories of their memorable spat after the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix, the two are known to be long past that incident.
Sources have told ESPN that Magnussen has endorsed the move given the experience Hulkenberg, who has 181 F1 race starts to this name, would bring the team.
Ferrari reserve driver Giovinazzi took part in Friday practice for Haas at the Italian Grand Prix and will do so ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix in October but Steiner has downplayed the significance of those tests, saying Ferrari asked for him to get some mileage in new F1 cars.
While a few months ago it seemed almost certain Schumacher would be leaving the team, his recent form has strengthened his case to be retained for 2023.
Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, accumulated a hefty repair bill for Haas earlier in the year but scored points in Britain and Austria.
Although Haas has dropped down the order in recent months Schumacher’s recent performances, especially in qualifying, have impressed Steiner.
Haas is in no rush to make a decision and it is unlikely the team will decide before the Singapore Grand Prix on Oct. 3.
Hulkenberg is also believed to be a candidate for the vacant role at Alpine.
Pierre Gasly appeared to be leading the way for that seat but the other key part of the deal, U.S. driver Colton Herta getting a superlicence so he could replace the Frenchman at AlphaTauri, looks unlikely to happen, meaning Gasly’s move has hit a roadblock.
F2 racer and Alpine academy driver Jack Doohan, son of Moto GP legend Mick, emerged as a leading candidate over the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
With Alpine losing academy drivers Oscar Piastri to McLaren and Zhou Guanyu to Alfa Romeo over the last few years it is believed the team is keen to make sure it does not make the same mistake with Doohan, although some feel he needs another season of F2 under his belt before making the step up.