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Upcoming Haas F1 car updates "an early Christmas present" - Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg says updates scheduled for the US Grand Prix will be like “an early Christmas present” for his Haas Formula 1 team.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

The US-owned outfit is bringing a significant package to Austin that reflects a change of aerodynamic concept that is intended to give it a boost for the final five races of the season, and a head start on its 2024 car.

The team has struggled for form for most of this season, with severe tyre overheating hampering the drivers in races.

Hulkenberg said recently that Williams is out of reach in their battle for seventh in the constructors’ championship, although he now acknowledges that the later races – which include two street events, three sprints and potential for rain at several venues – do present opportunities.

“It's true is a lot of a lot of points still to be to be awarded and to be scored,” he said when asked by Autosport about the balance of the season.

“Monza wasn't pretty, it was very bad and difficult. But I think that was and will be the worst race we're going to see for the rest of the season.

“So I'm more optimistic for here. Suzuka I think maybe a bit more difficult again, but then the rest of it should be fairly okay.

"And in Austin we hopefully have a have an early Christmas present that gives us some performance.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, arriving in the paddock

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, arriving in the paddock

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Hulkenberg stressed that the team has done all it can with the current package, and thus had to make a change.

"I hope it will give us a big step forward,” he said. “But I can only speculate now. I know what's going on. And there's a big push for that.

“A driver wants performance, more downforce, more grip, more balance, but it's not easy to find. We can obviously work with set-up, with some things that we can play with.

“But we've explored this car pretty much in every possible way now, and the performance isn't there enough. So yeah, it's time I think to change the concept, the philosophy.

“I think we're also the last team and car with that kind of philosophy still. And we clearly got overtaken this year as the year went on by other teams with other concepts. So I guess that says something."

Asked about the contribution of the drivers towards the change he said: "It's constant dialogue we have, but it's always what the aero guys tell, when they have their runs in the wind tunnel, what they find, what the progress is.

“I guess it started to look like a little bit of a dead end a few months ago, because there wasn't enough coming out of it anymore. So that's when we got thinking.

"Monza was definitely the worst moment of the season in terms of performance. But even before Monza this plan was in motion so in the back of the head, you know that.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“For me Monza Sunday night was already ticked off and kind of erased from my memory, because I knew it's kind of a special one-off occasion."

Hulkenberg added that "just generally on low downforce packages this year, we're just not very efficient, the balance isn't good", with the resultant sliding at Monza and Spa only worsened by a rough track surface.

He explained: “They have still rough tarmac instead of the new tarmac, it is much smoother. And I feel the rough tarmac really has two effects; it kind of makes life for our aero more difficult. And it kills the tyres more for us.

"I think just more performance helps in every respect, in every sense. And more performance means more downforce, which means less sliding, which means less problems on Sunday. It's a pretty simple calculation."

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