Formula 1

Hulkenberg confirms talks with other teams over full-time F1 return

Racing Point stand-in driver Nico Hulkenberg has confirmed he has had talks with other teams over a possible full-time return to Formula 1 in 2021.

The German was called in to deputise for Sergio Perez at last weekend’s British GP, but was unable to start the race after a clutch issue meant that the team couldn’t start his power unit.

Hulkenberg remains on standby for Racing Point this weekend and, although Perez’s quarantine period has officially ended, the Mexican needs a negative COVID-19 test before he is allowed back into the paddock.

Hulkenberg says there have been no firm developments on his future, but suggested that there could be more news in the next two weeks.

“I’ve been in contact with quite a few people from the F1 industry, and team principals, because obviously we all know each other,” he said.

“Some is just casual chat, some is more about the future subject.

“So I’m definitely in discussions and in talks there, but nothing to say concrete yet there.

“I guess it’s still a matter of a couple of weeks before things will get a bit more concrete and firm.

“If not F1, to be honest, that is not so clear in my mind yet either. I think I’ll take one step at a time and then see how things roll, and which way they’re going in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Having qualified 13th, missing out on Q3 by fractions in last weekend’s round, Hulkenberg impressed many with his ability to get up to speed despite having had no running in F1 since the end of 2019.

Hulkenberg acknowledged that, if he gets the chance to show how he can perform with the Racing Point RP20 in race trim, he has an opportunity to put himself in the shop window for next year.

“Of course, if you have a strong result, it’s always a good advertisement. But you know that that stands always, and that’s valid all the time.

“But I think people and especially team principals, they don’t just look at one event, a one-off, especially when it’s under these circumstances.

“So of course, it would be good and I would love to have a great, great race and if I’m, if I’m in the car, I just want to be a good replacement to help the team as much as I can, and contribute. during the race weekend.

“And the rest, I think that will sort itself out later, and it’s kind of a separate matter.”

Asked if it would be frustrating to be on the sidelines this weekend he said: “Yeah, obviously that would be of course somewhat disappointing, after having been back in the car and getting a taste of it and then this.

“But obviously it was always clear that I come in as a temporary replacement for Checo, not knowing if it’s one race, two races or what, so obviously he’s the main driver and whenever he’s good to race again, he’ll be back.”

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