Hulkenberg, who will partner Kevin Magnussen again in 2024, asserts Haas must deliver a stronger development path to maintain its early competitiveness next year.
Reflecting on the season ahead of the final round in Abu Dhabi last weekend, Hulkenberg said: “I mean, yeah, can’t sell it as a success, being 10th at the moment.
“I think obviously the development, or lack of development, is a disappointment, it’s not great, not good enough frankly, we have to address that and do a better job next year.
“We started off in a decent position, we just didn’t find performance, we didn’t improve the car, others did, substantially, and we got left behind. From that point of view, not great.
“Personally I enjoyed this year after the time away and still now do, and actually look forward to next year already with hopefully a more competitive package.”
Hulkenberg elected to revert to the older specification VF-23 to complete the final two rounds, explaining the view that it possesses “more downforce in high-speed corners”.
After adding that he believed the previous package provided “the better car”, Hulkenberg outlined that conversations must be held to address Haas’ shortcomings.
“I think, internally, with Gunther [Steiner, Haas Team Principal] and the people and the management here we need to ask some serious questions, look into the areas, technical people, that have responsibility for making the car faster, what’s going on, do we need to change something, the structure, personnel, whatever,” he highlighted.
“But we need to ask these questions, look into there, and maybe even change, that’s all gonna happen now in the next few weeks I guess.”
Since entering F1 in 2016 Haas has shared a close technical alliance with Ferrari, with the pair adopting the ‘bathtub’ style sidepod concept from the beginning of this ruleset.
The two teams abandoned that solution to embrace the downwash philosophy pioneered by Red Bull, but both remained restricted by the architecture of its launch concept under the rules of the cost cap.
While Hulkenberg accepts that Haas’ close ties with Ferrari limit its potential, the German highlights how the team underdelivered compared to previous years.
“For sure that has its limitations,” he said regarding the extent of the collaboration, which includes an office located in the Italian marque’s Maranello factory.
“But this team has done far better than 10th in the past. It’s not realistic to say we’re going for second or third or something, but we should be challenging somewhere around sixth or seventh, for sure. And that’s where this year we’ve been a little bit behind the expectations.”
Pressed on if that’s something that can be changed with the VF-24, Hulkenberg issued: “We’re very linked to Ferrari so whatever they do, develop, find, next year, kind of carries on and is applicable to us. I don’t know, to be honest, at this point in time. TBC.”
While Hulkenberg was able to advance to Q3 on eight occasions across the season, the ex-Renault racer only converted one of those top-10 appearances into a points finish.
Haas encountered severe trouble with tyre degradation through the year, often resulting in the sight of its cars dropping through the field and requiring an extra pit stop.
Hulkenberg says Haas understands the issue but the updates it unveiled failed to deliver the expected downforce that would have eased its ongoing tyre wear problem.
“We understand it well but we can’t fix it [mid-season], that’s the problem, we would have to address it and fix it with updates, more downforce,” he discussed.
“But that was the issue – we didn’t find the downforce unfortunately and that’s why we keep having the tyre issues, sometimes more sometimes less.”
But with Pirelli retaining the same compounds for next year, Hulkenberg has stressed that it’s not only an aerodynamic deficiency contributing to Haas’ tyre woes.
He added: “Yeah I mean we have work to do. Not insignificantly, not just in the aero sector, also there with brake drums, cooling, how efficient everything works, for sure, it’s not secret.
“How confident am I? I’m not sure, we have to prove it, it’s up to us to do a better job next year.”