Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Yas Marina, 2019

Hulkenberg keen for F1 return “in the near future”

2020 F1 season

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Nico Hulkenberg intends to return to Formula 1 as soon as possible following his departure from Renault at the end of last year.

The 32-year-old, who lost his Renault seat to Esteban Ocon last year, said his current break from racing is the longest he has experienced since he started karting at the age of eight.

He admits he is missing racing, even though the pandemic means the 2020 F1 season hasn’t started yet.

“During testing I was kind of disconnected,” Hulkenberg told CNN. “That was also a time when I was travelling away from Europe and I didn’t follow testing too much, to be honest.

“But I followed up and caught up with a few people from Formula 1 to get a feel for what’s going on. Obviously no one’s really been in a race car but for me, since Abu Dhabi, it does feel like I want to get back in one of those things in the future, near future. But we’re obviously all waiting for it to happen again.”

As well as Renault, Hulkenberg has previously driven for Williams, Sauber (which runs Alfa Romeo) and Force India (now Racing Point). He said a potential destination for him in 2021 remains “TBC”.

“I’m very much up for it, that’s still my goal, my aim. But at the moment, obviously, it’s really tricky to say. There’s a lot of factors in there and now everything is kind of upside-down anyway.

“But I’m staying in contact with people. It’s still kind of a bit early. But if there’s a chance, I’ll definitely grab it. If it’s a good opportunity and something that really excites me and then gets me going, then definitely I will push for that.”

However Hulkenberg indicated he won’t be prepared to return just to race at the back of the field. He wants “a decent car that gives you a good opportunity to compete.

“I’m not saying obviously for a victory, but at least that you have something you can work with, a car and a weapon that allows you to to at least go for the top 10.”

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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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  • 17 comments on “Hulkenberg keen for F1 return “in the near future””

    1. I fear Mr. Hülkenberg has a way too inflated opinion of himself if he believes he can even remotely afford to be picky about any 2021 seat. He barely offers an improvement over most midfielders and where he would be an improvement, there are other factors speaking against him. Reality is that if you’re in the sport for 10+ seasons without a win, you are either well-funded or capable of taking advantage of opportunities in mediocre cars to help average teams jump higher in the WCC.. Hülkenberg is neither. With his attitude, the only longshot chance he has of getting back into F1 is if Kimi calls it a day and Alfa Romeo want an experienced lead driver. Other than that he is done – and it is not a noteworthy loss for the sport.

      1. Lol. Like half of the grid has any pedigree. Top junior, compares favourably to any team mate, after his debut season. Choked a couple times against ricciardo but he had the pace. Destroyed sainz jr, 20s per race. Won LeMans so he can avoid choking.

      2. He’s better than both current Haas drivers, one current Alfa Romeo driver, one current Williams driver one current Racing Point driver and the two Toro Rosso drivers. He absolutely deserves a competitive seat.

        1. @paeschli You won’t know about the Williams-driver for certain before any racing has taken place.

        2. He’s better than both current Haas drivers…

          Not to any relevant degree. Marginal improvement on the driver front is relatively pointless for a team like Haas.

          … one current Alfa Romeo driver

          True, but the Ferrari junior team only needs one veteran driver at most and Kimi has that spot.

          one current Williams driver

          True, but Hülkenberg thinks he’s too good to drive for Williams.

          one current Racing Point driver

          Who’s the son of the guy responsible for the team still existing.

          and the two Toro Rosso drivers.

          The Red Bull junior team has no use for a driver who has absolutely no talent left to be discovered. Kyvat and Gasly are both on borrowed time and they still have some room left to grow.

          As I have said, where he’d be a better driver, there are other factors at play. He may “deserve” a competitive seat, but he’s not in a position to get one. C’est la vie, I am afraid.

        3. Claus Vorreiter Jensen
          7th May 2020, 10:08

          Both drivers from Haas has been on the podium, both drivers from Torro Rosse has been on the podium and both drivers from Racing Point has been on the podium. The Hulk has 0 (ZERO) podiums to his name after 10 seasons in F1, so why would you say he is a better driver than any of them ?

          1. Both Haas drivers have driven for top teams, both Toro Rosso drivers have driven for top team and both Racing Point drivers have been lucky.

      3. I disagree that he has too inflated an opinion of himself. He just doesn’t want to be driving around at the back – who of his age and experience would? It doesn’t necessarily mean he thinks he’s too good for that, that’s just not an enjoyable experience. He could probably get a top seat in eg LMP1 (or LMDh or whatever) which would be preferable to driving around in last place, but maybe if a better F1 seat became available, then that would be preferable to other series’.

    2. Nico should take up Sim racing to keep him in the picture and still having the feeling of racing.

      I see him probally in Haas just before they stop!

      1. Yeah, I’d take Nico over Romain.

        Then there is also rummors Ferrari seat might open up. Imagine Nico getting a Ferrari seat, what an upset that would be.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          6th May 2020, 10:45

          I think one reason why Grosjean is still here is because of his feedback and that he’s a good development driver. In this area I think he could well be better than Hulkenberg. When Grosjean’s got a decent car, he’s often pretty quick, possibly quicker than Hulkenberg, but that hasn’t been the case recently. I have to say that Hulkenberg is often pretty inconsistent too though. He’s had some bad races and made quite a few mistakes over the last few years. Many seemed surprised that Hass kept Grosjean over choosing Hulkenberg, but I think there is a reason for that.

          1. Pretty much this IMO.

            While Grosjean has made some absolute howlers (and Hulk), watching Drive to Survive, it clearly showed Grosjean was giving better feedback to the team. Given the still huge focus on the team from Netflix, I’m sure there we would have heard feedback from Nico if he had any.

            However, I still think the team would benefit from two new drivers. Hanging onto him in the hope he can help build a good car is not cost effective when then it come back to the pits in more pieces than it left.

          2. Based on what we’ve seen Grosjean seems to be great at developing the car in the wrong direction.
            Yes, he’s often quick, but he bins it so often that he’d need Verstappen speed just to grab enough points as the average midfield driver.

          3. the reason why grosjean is in is down to him being a banker

        2. @jureo Yes that could be a good move, but not by much.

    3. Funny. Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Leclerc et al. are also “keen for F1 return” as soon as possible.

    Comments are closed.