’Two vacant seats’ at Haas for 2025, says team boss

"Nico has been a good reference for how fast our car is"


5 May 2024 - 10:26
'Two vacant seats' at (...)

Kevin Magnussen is not assured his place at Haas for 2025, team boss Ayao Komatsu has warned.

The small American team is upset to be farewelling Nico Hulkenberg at the end of the year, with the German having accepted an offer from Sauber-Audi.

"Nico has been a good reference for how fast our car is," Komatsu told Ekstra Bladet newspaper in Miami. "He is a driver on whose feedback you can develop a car from. His work ethic is amazing.

"We will try to replace him with someone who has the same kind of characteristics. We need that as a team," he added.

Given that Magnussen has been with Haas for a lot longer than Hulkenberg, Komatsu’s words will be alarming for the 31-year-old Danish driver.

"Right now we have two vacant seats," Komatsu admits. "One of our current drivers is gone, so naturally that increases Kevin’s chances. But I don’t want to go into details.

"We need someone who can be a benchmark for the team."

Komatsu admits that Haas is considering team partner Ferrari’s top protege Oliver Bearman, an 18-year-old rookie, for one of the seats next year.

But the team boss warned: "He must deliver in F2, that’s clear."

Even if Bearman does get the nod, Magnussen may not fit the bill as the new Hulkenberg-like ’reference’ driver for Haas.

Also on the 2025 market are Valtteri Bottas, the current Alpine duo, and potentially Daniel Ricciardo.

"We are still a small team," Komatsu said. "We need a driver who is determined to develop the team with us. Work ethic is important.

"It makes no sense to spend a lot of money on someone who is mega fast but not interested in spending time in the factory and working with the engineers to develop the car."

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