Nico Hulkenberg Reportedly Rejected McLaren F1 Offer for 2021

Published 03/09/2021, 2:33 AM EST
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Racing Point reacts in parc ferme during the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone in Northampton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)


German driver Nico Hulkenberg is apparently a very sought-after driver in the F1 paddock. According to reports by F1 insider, the German could be employed by F1 teams as a super-sub, should their drivers be unavailable for any reason. 

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Hulkenberg was not a team-contracted driver on the grid in 2020. He lost his Renault seat to Esteban Ocon after the 2019 season.

However, he found himself in an F1 race seat rather soon, as both Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were on the wrong end of COVID-19 diagnoses. He suited up for three races and had very impressive performances to show for it, which apparently impressed the higher-ups at various teams. 

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Nico Hulkenberg to become a Double Agent?

The German is in high demand, and according to reports by F1 insider, could be employed by both Mercedes and Aston Martin. “Both the Mercedes works team and the drive customer Aston Martin are planning to hire the German from Emmerich as a replacement and development driver.

“Both racing teams are convinced of the capabilities of the “Hulk”. Not only as a development pilot who can provide important information about the behavior of the car in the simulator. But also as someone who can replace one of the regular drivers with a cold start on a GP race weekend.”

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – DECEMBER 13: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

However, there is another team that is looking to make use of Hulk’s services.

McLaren has also asked whether he would be available if the worst comes to the worst. However, the German could not accept due to his other obligations. Nevertheless, a use at McLaren is not considered completely impossible if Mercedes and Aston Martin would agree.

“McLaren is considered a competitor, but the orange cars are also being cheered on by Mercedes engines this year.”

Can the Hulk make a permanent comeback to F1?

Hulkenberg has previously expressed a desire to make a permanent return to F1. Unfortunately, his chances of that happening are in the negative. Despite his encouraging performances as a super-sub, that wasn’t enough to tempt teams into giving him a permanent contract.

Seven out of the 10 teams in F1 made changes to their driver lineup for 2021. While several were looking to make an upgrade to their line-ups, the decisions taken by Alpine and Haas turned out to be head-scratchers.

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – JULY 27: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Renault Sport F1 in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 27, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Alpine turned to a man six years Hulkenberg’s senior, Fernando Alonso, to take over the spot left by Daniel Ricciardo. Haas, on the other hand, opted to recruit two fresh-faced rookies instead of Nico.

While Nico has long been touted as championship-winning material, teams are a little put off by the absence of a podium in his long F1 career. This has ultimately tarnished his solid career and could deter future teams from giving him a permanent drive.

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Thus, he should look to make the most of the limited opportunities he gets. Otherwise, he may need to find a permanent home in another motorsport series.

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Ashish Thomas

211 articles

Ashish Thomas is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having followed motorsports since age 5, Ashish holds an enviable knowledge of F1 history. Ashish holds extensive experience in sports writing, having previously worked for SportsQuest and Fansided.

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