Nico Hulkenberg looks set to continue in his role as the test and reserve driver of the Aston Martin F1 team for the upcoming season, according to recent reports. The German will carry on from the 2020 F1 season, where he diligently did the same duty for the Silverstone-based outfit.
He was called into action for a combined three Grand Prix when the likes of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez suffered illnesses. He performed admirably, recording a heroic 8th position at Eifel GP after virtually no practice. Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer recently added fuel to the fire by hinting at an extension.
Now, according to a report by F1-insider.com, he is closer than ever to put pen to paper on a written contract.
In an interview with Sky England, Otmar said, “We are close to Nico and are in talks. It could well be that we will bring him as the third man. That would be fabulous for everyone.”
“Nico was the logical choice because he drove for us for years and because everyone knows that you can rely on Hulkenberg.”
He has spent a combined four seasons in F1 with Aston Martin’s former iteration, Force India. Hence, he knows the staff members very well alongside having an established relationship with them. He also contributed to the RS20 last year while serving this role.
“I keep in touch with some engineers because I’ve known them for a long time. Some things were done on the car in response to my feedback. You want to know what’s going on.”
According to the report, “the plan is for Hulkenberg not to be on-site at every race but to have a standby line – just in case.”
This will spare him from attending every race weekend. Instead, he could focus on other, more regular racing avenues than this temporary role.
So, they can call him into action whenever required, as in the case of last season. He will continue to work on the simulator to assist in car development. The team will also strengthen the German side of the team that they have with Sebastian Vettel and engine suppliers, Mercedes.