Ex-McLaren F1 Driver Joins Hulkenberg in the Race for the Arrow McLaren SP Indy Seat

Published 10/27/2021, 4:17 AM EDT
MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 06: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Renault Sport F1 looks on in the garage during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 06, 2019 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Nico Hulkenberg, who is undeniably a racing driver of sheer talent and aggression, hasn’t been able to find his own place in the world of motorsport in recent years. After having been left out of the 2020 F1 season and hardly ever showing up to the grid in 2021, all hopes resided on the drivers’ market in the build-up to 2022.

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The German held talks with multiple mid-field and lower mid-field teams in a bid to find a spot on the grid in 2022 but in vain. None of the talks came to fruition, and yet again, disappointment engulfed Hulkenberg. Hence, the Aston Martin reserve driver finally gave up on his fight for an F1 seat and widened his view.

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It’s IndyCar now! Hulkenberg, on Monday, completed 108 laps in his maiden Indy test with Arrow McLaren SP at the Barber Motorsports Park. Yes, the former Renault driver pulled off stunning enough lap times to place himself at almost the top of the list.

However, there’s another hurdle coming towards Hulkenberg now, this time from his fellow F1 outcast, Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne to challenge Hulkenberg for McLaren IndyCar seat

The Belgian has had enough with F1, hoping for a full-time seat every seat which ultimately ends in disappointment, much like Hulkenberg.

Vandoorne carries quite the reputation with McLaren, having raced for them between 2016 and 2018, comprising around 41 Grand Prix starts. So, his rapport with McLaren is likely to make it harder for Hulkenberg to secure the third seat at Indy in 2023.

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SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 24: Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren Honda walks in the Paddock during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 24, 2017 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

For sure, we have (had F1 interest). And I think it helps to have our family over in the F1 paddock, too,” Taylor Kiel, McLaren SP president told RACER.

So Stoffel has obviously got some connections with the team and is actively engaged with the team as a reserve driver. So that was kind of a no-brainer. I think we’ll try to do something with him. He’s certainly a talented race driver. But, we’ve had people reaching out from all over the place.

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Overall, Hulkenberg is seeking tough competition wherever he goes, but none can be blamed. The German is challenging for one of the most precious seats in Indy, and there are going to be a massive attraction, not only from F1 but also from other racing series. So, the only question that remains is, who is going to nab that Indy drive?

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Rohit Kumar

1441 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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