Nico Hulkenberg will return to Formula 1 full-time for the first time in three years after being confirmed as Haas’ second driver for 2023.

Hulkenberg emerged as a candidate for the Haas seat in recent months when it became clear Mick Schumacher’s place at the team was under threat.

The German held talks with team boss Gunther Steiner over a potential drive, despite having not driven in F1 full-time since leaving Renault at the end of 2019.

He has made five stand-in appearances for Racing Point/Aston Martin since the start of 2020, even subsidising for Sebastian Vettel at the first two races of this season when the four-time world champion was ruled out with Covid.

Hulkenberg’s link to the Haas seat only grew when Aston Martin unveiled Stoffel Vandoorne as its reserve driver for 2023, a role Hulkenberg has held the past two years, without mentioning his name in the press release.

And on Thursday morning ahead of the final round in Abu Dhabi this weekend, Haas announced Hulkenberg as Kevin Magnussen’s team-mate at the American-owned outfit next year.

“I’m very happy to move into a full-time race seat with Haas F1 Team in 2023. I feel like I never really left Formula 1,” said Hülkenberg.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to do what I love the most again and want to thank Gene Haas and Günther Steiner for their trust. We have work ahead of us to be able to compete with all the other teams in the midfield, and I cannot wait to join that battle again.”

Haas F1 chief Steiner believes Hulkenberg’s experience – 181 grand prix starts since his F1 debut for Williams in 2010 – will be an invaluable asset to the team.

“I’m naturally very pleased to be welcoming Nico Hülkenberg back to a full-time racing role in Formula 1, ”said Steiner.

“The experience and knowledge base Nico brings to the team is clear to see – with nearly 200 career starts in Formula 1 – and a reputation as being a great qualifier and a solid, reliable racer.

“These are attributes, which when you pair them together with Kevin Magnussen’s experience, gives us a very credible and well-seasoned driver line-up which we believe will help push the team onwards up the grid.

“That’s obviously the goal and it was that ambition that has prompted Nico’s return to Formula 1 – he shares our vision and can be a key player together with the rest of the team in building on the foundations we’ve laid this year with our return to the points battle.”

Haas also confirmed Hulkenberg would drive at the end-of-season test next week in Abu Dhabi, sharing track duties with reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi.

Schumacher’s departure ends a two-year spell at Haas, but while the German won’t be on the grid in 2023, he has been linked with a reserve role at Mercedes.