Nico Hulkenberg will get “something” if he breaks his and the Haas team’s Formula 1 podium droughts.
The 35-year-old German, who has impressed on his return to F1 this year after a three-year sabbatical, holds the all-time record for the most career starts without a single top-three finish.
Haas is also yet to score a podium in its more than seven seasons on the grid, so the idea of an on-form Hulkenberg breaking that drought this year is music to the ears of team boss Gunther Steiner.
“I’m not talking about driver contracts, but he’ll definitely get something,” Steiner laughed to the German broadcaster ntv.
“I can be open about it – he won’t be angry. It will be more than a bottle of beer or wine.”
Steiner hinted that results incentives are always built into F1 contracts.
“There’s always an incentive, but it’s not just a material thing for Nico,” he said. “We all know he’s a very good Formula 1 driver, but he’s never been on the podium.
“For him, that would also be a crowning achievement for his career. It would also be nice for Haas,” Steiner admitted.
“We already have a pole position and a fastest race lap, so we’re missing the podium and then the win. And you have to work hard to get that done.
“But it will happen at some point, I’m sure of it.”
At the end of last year, Steiner and team owner Gene Haas made the decision to oust the underperforming and crash-prone Mick Schumacher and replace him with the much more experienced German Hulkenberg.
Steiner’s outspoken and ongoing criticism of Mick, however, particularly angered his uncle Ralf Schumacher, who is today an expert pundit for German television.
When asked about his relationship with Ralf Schumacher today, Steiner answered: “I have no problem, I just have to do my job.
“I think the problem lies with someone else, not me. That’s why I’m not worried about it and don’t have to go there.
“The relationship no longer exists and I don’t need a new one either. I choose my friends myself and who I want to talk to. I was always like that and it will stay that way,” Steiner added.
As for his relationship with Mick, he admitted: “He’s at the other end of the pitlane now so we rarely see each other.
“If he wants to talk to me, ok. If he doesn’t want to talk to me, that’s ok too. I have to respect that and I’m ok with it.”