Nico Hulkenberg reveals Audi talks timeline as Sauber issued ‘kick their butts’ warning

Jamie Woodhouse
Nico Hulkenberg in the paddock at the 2023 United States Grand Prix.

Future Audi driver Nico Hulkenberg.

While Nico Hulkenberg knows that his future is with Sauber and Audi after long-standing interest turned into a signed contract, he warned Sauber that he remains out to “kick their butts”.

2025 will mark the final season for Sauber before the team morphs into the Audi works outfit, with one-half of their driver line-up now confirmed as Hulkenberg prepares to join the team for 2025.

Nico Hulkenberg will do Sauber no favours

Reflecting on how this move came about when speaking to media ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, Hulkenberg said Audi/Sauber were already expressing an interest in signing him last year, but this time around, the deal was sealed.

“It just happened,” said Hulkenberg when asked how the upcoming move came about? “I don’t know how it actually happened [laughs].

“Like normal, obviously at some point you start talking and obviously, as we all know, it has been and still is a very dynamic, fluid driver market situation.

“And already there was interest last year, but obviously, I’m here and there was an opportunity, but the interest still seemed to be there from their side and they were quite keen.

“And I think, matched interest for the future going forward. It’s a very exciting, interesting project and hence the soon agreement.” recommends

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Hulkenberg’s future Audi association means the German automotive giant will have a German driver in their team, one headed by another German in former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl.

However, Hulkenberg stressed that the strong German vibes was not an important factor in his decision to sign with the team.

“It’s a fact, but that’s secondary and that’s a side effect and that’s just how it is,” said Hulkenberg, “it’s not that I was specifically looking for that.

“I think, as a driver, you just always look for what you believe is the best sporting package and opportunity for you in the future. And I think for me, that’s the one.”

Before that though, Hulkenberg still has the majority of the F1 2024 campaign to navigate with Haas, as he made it clear that this is where his loyalties lay at this time.

So, Sauber should still expect him to be out to “kick their butts”.

“It’s all in the future, but it is happening and obviously very happy, excited about it,” he told Sky F1, “quite unusual for me that I know so early in the season where my future will be.

“That’s obviously quite comfortable and happy and also takes that subject away so that we can focus on the remainder of the season with Haas.

“That I obviously want to finish as successful as possible, there’s no preference to my future team, so I’m still going to try and kick their butts.”

Hulkenberg has scored four of Haas’ five points so far this season.

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