Red Bull’s advisor Dr Helmut Marko has revealed that the talks between themselves and Nico Hulkenberg over a 2020 drive were initiated by the German.
Hulkenberg announced that he would not be staying with Renault for the 2020 season with his seat going to Esteban Ocon.
He was widely expected to stay in the sport though with Haas, but they made the surprise decision to retain Romain Grosjean, ending Hulkenberg’s hopes of a drive with the American outfit.
The door at Alfa Romeo was also closed on Hulkenberg when they gave Antonio Giovinazzi a new contract, and it was confirmed that he had been in touch with Red Bull over the possibility of partnering Max Verstappen in 2020.
And Marko has explained that Hulkenberg did indeed initiate the contact, but ultimately they stuck with Alex Albon because they didn’t want to break their track record of promoting the young drivers in their programme.
“The initiative came from Hülkenberg,” Marko told Motorsport-Total.com.
“At that time we didn’t know how it would end with Albon, so we left it open. Once we had chosen Albon, it became clear that there was no room for Hulkenberg with us.
“Otherwise we would break our promises. So far we have only taken drivers out of our junior program. That gives our juniors a lot of security as soon as they are with us. Their chances of reaching Formula 1 are therefore very high.
“I do not want to say that we will never take someone from outside, but it must be significantly better.”