Otmar Szafnauer, Racing Point, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Hulkenberg’s ex-team boss hopes he can come back to F1

2019 F1 season

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Nico Hulkenberg’s former team principal Otmar Szafnauer hopes the 32-year-old can return to Formula 1 after losing his seat this year.

Esteban Ocon will take Hulkenberg’s place at Renault next year and he has been unable to find another seat for the 2020 F1 season.

Szafnauer, who Hulkenberg drove for during his 2011-12 and 2013-16 stints at Force India, says he hopes this isn’t the end of Hulkenberg’s F1 career.

“I personally like Nico. I think he’s a talent. He’s a nice guy, if you get to know him he’s really straightforward and honest. There’s no [bullshit] with him which is quite nice in that regard.

“And I think he’s good enough to be in Formula 1. Hopefully things will work out where he’ll be able to come back one day.”

Ahead of his final F1 race weekend for the foreseeable future, Hulkenberg says he’s “not bitter” at losing his place in the sport.

“I’m fine with it, to be honest,” he said. “It’s not new, obviously I’ve known for a while this is coming. I’m fine about it.

“Also part of me is excited about the time ahead and to close this chapter, open a new one on what might happen or might not happen in the future.”

Hulkenberg has been linked to various series outside F1, but is yet to confirm any plans for next year.

“For me personally it’s just to get away for a while,” he said. “I want to disconnect a bit from racing for a few months and then see what I’m up to, where my head is, and my heart, and then reassess.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Hulkenberg’s ex-team boss hopes he can come back to F1”

  1. well… then… you know… hire him… maybe?

  2. Nico Hulkenberg’s former team principal Otmar Szafnauer […]
    Szafnauer, who Hulkenberg drove for during his 2011-12 and 2013-16 stints at Force India

    Bit confused here. Wasn’t Mallya the team principal, and Fernley his deputy? That would make Szafnauer third from the top during those periods, wouldn’t it?

  3. Bet what he really means is he wishes he has Nico as a driver instead of one of the two he currently has.

  4. By no means I dislike Hülkenberg in any way, but quite frankly, he had his run. Ten years in Formula 1 is a solid career, and his will more than likely be one without a podium. In very similar career path, Pérez had achieved a number of podiums, and the likes of Petrov, Heidfeld, Kobayashi, Stroll, Gasly and Sainz snatched at least one. It’s OK to bring in Ocon now, and wish Nicolas all the best for whatever comes next in his life.

  5. I’m not certain Nico could win a championship, but it’s certainly evident he wasn’t going to win one with the inferior car he was driving.

    1. “cars” :-)

  6. There’s so much politics involved in this sport that unless your manager is one of only about two, you are doomed. Talent or not. There’s a young guy who’s father owns a team that Nico should replace, but that ain’t happenin. Kimi is next. Then Sebastian and Lewis. Time wounds all heals. We have seen the inrush of youth. Mom’s and dads with deep pockets are pushing these things. It’s the world we’ve created. There needs to be a new series for these older guys. One with V10’s lol.

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