Nico Hulkenberg says he is “excited” by the prospect of what lies ahead in his life as he prepares to depart the Formula 1 community after this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hulkenberg has been affiliated with Formula 1 since 2008, when he held a reserve role with Williams, and has started 176 grands prix across the past decade.
Renault recruited Esteban Ocon in Hulkenberg’s place for 2020 and the German was unable to find another seat, meaning the upcoming event is likely to be his swansong in the championship.
Hulkenberg has already ruled out a 2020 reserve/simulator role with a team, or remaining in the championship through a punditry role, and is eager to re-evaluate his future.
“For anyone it’s the last race of the year so you always have that kind of feeling but obviously you also have that kind of uncertainty in the future but I’m fine with it to be honest, it’s not new,” said Hulkenberg.
“I’ve known for a while that this was coming but I’m fine about it. Also part of me is kind of excited about the times ahead, close this chapter and open a new one.
“What might happen and might not happen in the future, I don’t know, nobody knows right now.
“But for me obviously it’s good just to get away for a while and want to disconnect from racing for a few months and then see what I’m up to, where my head is and my heart, and reassess.
“It’s still fun at the moment and a big part of me is excited about that break that I’m going to get. Not living in this schedule, in this rhythm, having to do these things at these times that are preset.”
Hulkenberg, 32, went on to add that “I never had a break. Since I started, when I was seven, this has been my life, my world. So that’s a while, also 10 years here [in Formula 1].
“Of course it’s going to be very different, a new situation, and quite a shock as well. I’m sure there will be some moments that are quite hard as well, the ceiling will drop on my head, but it’s part of it.”