Nico Hulkenberg earned a solid reputation of being a ‘super substitute’ in the 2020 F1 season. Called up to replace both Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll in 2020, the German did a great job considering the circumstances.
But despite the few opportunities, he would have wanted to re-join the grid as a full-timer. Over the course of last year, he was linked with quite a few teams such as Haas, Alfa Romeo and even Red Bull Racing.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with GQ, Hulkenberg has now explained that he turned down the chance to return to F1 on purpose. He also believes that the break of nearly a year was very ‘welcome’ for him.
He stated, “That didn’t come, that’s true. There were discussions, but it just didn’t fit together.” (translated via Google Translate)
“That’s why I said to myself: Don’t just continue somehow at any cost, but get off for a year – also at the risk of not coming back at all.”
Reports suggested Hulkenberg could move to Alfa Romeo until the Swiss outfit confirmed Antonio Giovinazzi for 2021. Similarly, a move to Red Bull was also on the cards, till the team went ahead with Sakhir GP winner, Sergio Perez.
“I’ve had a good ten years in Formula 1 and now I’m not the type of person who wants to keep on driving. Especially not in the back just to be there. So I deliberately said no and came to a point where this break was very welcome for me personally,” concluded the 33-year-old.
Receiving last-minute call-ups to race without practice sessions is always a tough task for any F1 driver. But that did not prove to be the case for Hulkenberg, who achieved points finishes at Silverstone and later at the Nurburgring.
Strapping into the Racing Point car, the German utilized all of his experience and showed his ability and class on the track. Considering his limited chances, he did very well to attract potential suitors.
Hulkenberg might have to make do with substitute appearances for the time being. But F1 fans will hope he can soon become a permanent part of the grid.