Nico Hulkenberg to take time over future as F1 exit looms

Nico Hulkenberg portrait

Nico Hulkenberg says he will take time to consider his next career move in the wake of missing out on a seat on the 2020 Formula 1 grid.

Hulkenberg stepped up to Formula 1 in 2010 with Williams and has been ever-present since 2012, spending four seasons at Force India, either side of a stint with Sauber, before moving to Renault.

Hulkenberg’s three-year Renault deal expires at the end of 2019 and in August the manufacturer confirmed its recruitment of Esteban Ocon as Daniel Ricciardo’s 2020 team-mate.

Red Bull ruled Hulkenberg out of contention while potential openings at Haas and Alfa Romeo were closed when those teams retained Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi respectively.

It left Williams as the last vacancy but a couple of weeks ago Hulkenberg effectively ruled himself out of the running, believing it was not the “right timing” for either party.

It is understood that one option open for Hulkenberg is an offer from Ed Carpenter Racing to drive its No. 20 car on the road and street courses in next year’s IndyCar championship.

But Hulkenberg – who has regularly ruled out racing on ovals – says he wants to take time to reflect and work out his options for 2020, rather than rush into any decision

“I haven’t signed nothing (sic) and I won’t do for the foreseeable future,” said Hulkenberg.

“I received several calls from different racing series, teams, but nothing is really happening at the moment.

“[IndyCar] I guess [is an option], on one side yes, but to be honest my state of mind is pretty relaxed.

“I want to finish [2019] as successful as possible, and then after that want to rewind a bit, and take a moment for myself, or two or three, see what I want to do, see what seems of interest.

“I’m certainly not having the feeling that I want to rush into something just to race. I’m pretty relaxed about it to be honest.”

Hulkenberg nonetheless stressed that his desire not to rush into any decision did not mean that his passion for motorsport had waned.

“I need to see once the new year starts how I feel and how things develop and evolve [and in] which direction,” he said. “Right now I don’t know.

“I’ve made mistakes [in Formula 1], I’ve done mistakes, like we all do sometimes, which I obviously would like to avoid, a few moves or things I would do differently now, but that’s always easy with hindsight.

“But all in all I’m at peace with that and what I’ve achieved… just to be clear I’m not retiring, not as a race driver, I don’t feel I’m leaving Formula 1. I might not be on the grid but if there is an opportunity [in the future] I’m going to be ready.”