Seen walking into the Red Bull hospitality, but that was explained away as travel, it’s now being claimed it’s Aston Martin, not Red Bull, who could be the ones to sign Nico Hulkenberg.
Returning to the Formula 1 grid after three years as a reserve driver with Aston Martin in which he earned the moniker ‘super sub’, Hulkenberg has impressed in his first season with Haas.
The Mr. Saturday of this year’s championship, that he only has nine points on the board is down to Haas’ tyre problems with the VF-23 falling short on Sundays, so much so that even team boss Guenther Steiner admits that’s their biggest issue this season.
Nico Hulkenberg on ‘Aston Martin’s radar’
Said to have caught the eye of Red Bull’s Helmut Marko, the motorsport advisor recently revealed his idea of a perfect team-mate for Max Verstappen would be Hulkenberg on a Saturday and Sergio Perez on a Sunday, the German is being linked to a few of F1’s top teams.
But, according to former driver turned pundit Timo Glock, it’s not Red Bull who are leading the charge, rather it’s his former team, Aston Martin.
Although he expects Hulkenberg to remain at Haas next season, Aston Martin having Fernando Alonso and their team owner’s son Lance Stroll on the books, he reckons the German could be in line for a 2025 seat with the Silverstone team.
“I think he will still be driving with Haas next year because there is no other option,” Speedweek quotes the Sky Sports commentator as having said. “After that, I’m sure that the teams have him on the radar, for example, Aston Martin.
“Mike Krack saw what Nico Hülkenberg can do in the car without any preparation and how he drives at the moment. He’s definitely on the list and I trust him to be able to show everything in a top team.”
Hulkenberg knows the Aston Martin team well having raced for the team under its ‘Force India’ moniker in 2012 and again from 2014 to 2016. He was back with the team from 2020 to 2022 where he filled the reserve driver role.
But as the 35-year-old extended his unwanted record for the most starts without a podium to 193 at the Belgian Grand Prix, Hulkenberg accepts that for 2024 he’ll still be with Haas.
“The stars and signs are currently in such a way that the marriage will continue,” he told Sky Sports Germany last month.
After that, though, he’s already dreaming of a step or three up the grid.
“A lot will happen on the driver market at the end of 2024, some contracts will expire. I will be as attractive as possible,” he insisted.
“At the moment I can very well imagine driving for a few more years. But I’ll take it upon myself. Everything that comes is an encore.”
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has all but assured Hulkenberg of an extension for the 2024 season.
Steiner told Sport.de: “We’ve already talked about the contract, but it’s better to do it in person than by phone or video. The new contract won’t be long in coming. It’s coming and we hope to get it done as soon as possible to be able to announce a new deal, because we are very happy with Nico.”