For the 2020 Formula One season, the paddock bid adieu to Nico Hulkenberg and welcomed back Esteban Ocon. However, Renault reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin isn’t sure that roping in the Frenchman is a good idea.
Speaking to Championat, Sirotkin said, “I do not like to talk about specific drivers, but I think Nico performed at a very high level and gave a lot to the team. Will Ocon be better? I doubt it.”
The German driver has the unfortunate record of the most F1 starts without a podium. He has come close on a few occasions with a few 4th placed finishes. However, Nico Hulkenberg often ‘choked’ whenever he was in a prime podium position. The most recent example is the 2019 German Grand Prix, where he crashed out of second place behind Max Verstappen.
On another occasion, he was battling Lewis Hamilton at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. The two were squabbling for second place when Hulk lost control of his Force India and collided with Hamilton.
What else did Sergey Sirotkin say?
The Russian driver also gave his assessment of the Renault 2020 car. The R.S.20 features a vastly different front wing compared to its predecessor. Looking at it from a physical point of view, Sergey Sirotkin said: “Visually, I really like the new car.”
While all this is going on, Nico Hulkenberg is currently enjoying his vacation. Judging from his social media posts, Hulkenberg is living the good life at the Carnaval festival in Rio de Janeiro.
From the looks of things, it does not seem that he has any plans to race unless something dramatic comes up. However, at 33-years old, his options coul be very limited indeed. On the other hand, he could simply take the year off to relax, and hope that he can snag an F1 seat in 2021.