Nico Hulkenberg, unfortunately, is not contracted to any F1 team for 2021 but will don a variety of hats for the season. Hulkenberg will not only be the reserve driver for Aston Martin and Mercedes, but he will also be an expert and co-commentator for Austrian broadcaster ServusTV. While moonlighting for ServusTV, he revealed that he has completed simulator work with both Aston Martin and Mercedes.
The German had spent the 2020 season serving as an emergency driver for Racing Point. He was also called into action on three occasions when he replaced both Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll when they had contracted the Coronavirus. Hulkenberg put in great performances on two of those occasions and finished the car in points positions both times.
Nico Hulkenberg reveals having done simulator work with Aston Martin and Mercedes on TV
During his stint with ServusTV, while commentating on the season-opener at Bahrain, Hulkenberg divulged that he had sat in both teams’ simulator for a day each.
“You get a feeling for how such a car can be driven. That is a first impression that is also important. The Aston Martin is different to drive than last year. But when it really becomes reality. It’s always a different feeling on the track and another learning process that you have to go through quickly.”
He also revealed a few funny anecdotes during his commentating stint. The 33-year-old spoke about the time he had approached Helmut Marko for a position within Red Bull’s junior program. He reveals that the Austrian was less than impressed with how the German had approached the interview.
Does the Hulk deserve an F1 seat?
Ultimately, Nico Hulkenberg will always be spoken about in terms of how he didn’t make the most of his talent. Hulkenberg was one among five drivers since 2005 to win the F2 series in his debut campaign. This led to him being touted as a future world champion on joining the F1 paddock.
An argument can be made that he has been at average teams. But that doesn’t explain why he holds the record for most race starts without a podium.
He has constantly squandered opportunities to earn podiums and possibly race wins by committing some unforced error or the other. That speaks to his fragile mentality. Keeping all this in mind, the possibility of him getting a seat for the 2022 season is very improbable.
There are no vacancies available in F1 for him to get a contract at. There is also the possibility that teams would favor giving an opportunity to a young driver from F2, who has performed well. So, Hulkenberg could end up having to retire from the sport as a driver.