Haas has signed an extension with both Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen. After a steady year for the partnership in which the car has taken a step back in terms of competitiveness, the duo will continue to try and do more of the same next season as well.
While there were question marks over how Haas approached the extension, there was a lack of clarity on the future of both drivers.
Nico Hulkenberg's performances have been very impressive this season. More often than not, he's found himself qualifying the Haas in the top 10 while his teammate struggles to do the same.
When it comes to securing points, the German has done the bulk of the heavy lifting, while Kevin Magnussen has trailed him on that front. There were suggestions that, with Audi's presence beginning to take shape next season, the German could find a home in Sauber.
For Kevin Magnussen, the Danish driver was certainly on thin ice, as he has failed to keep up with Nico Hulkenberg at Haas this season. However, if we look at things from the American squad's point of view, it all makes sense.
#1 The extension with Nico Hulkenberg was a no-brainer
It's no secret that Haas unearthed gold when it signed Nico Hulkenberg. The German has been a clear step up from Kevin Magnussen, and it was almost a priority to get his signature on the contract before the same happened with his teammate.
The single-year extension works both ways because it gives Haas a driver who can qualify the car in places it might not deserve to be.
For Hulkenberg, it gives him the opportunity to see if there are any openings next season on the grid. At the end of next season, multiple driver contracts are coming to an end.
#2 Kevin Magnussen deserves a longer rope
Kevin Magnussen's 2023 F1 season has been far from impressive. He's been outclassed by Nico Hulkenberg, and he has found it hard to keep up.
Having said that, the Danish driver has been considered a valuable part of the team for the last few years, and on his day, he can beat the best of them. Lest we forget, Magnussen got Haas its first-ever pole position last season as well.
Considering the landscape in F1, this was a good call by Haas because it gives a somewhat stable lineup that can help work on the car and make incremental improvements.
#3 There is no better alternative for Haas
When you look at the landscape of the sport, it does become clear that Steiner did not have too many options to make changes to their driver lineup.
Nico Hulkenberg was someone that the team was not willing to let go of, and rightly so, but even when we talked about replacing Kevin Magnussen, there weren't too many options.
Who could Steiner look at as a possible replacement for the Danish driver, and who would be interested in coming over?
If we look at the current F1 grid, there aren't many chomping at the bit to join the American team. If we look at the upcoming class, there are not many standouts, and Guenther Steiner's aversion to rookies is not going to help either.
In the end, it came down to Kevin Magnussen, and the driver did provide a semblance of stability to the team, which is needed at this stage.