Nico Hulkenberg ‘came close at one stage’ to signing with a top team

Michelle Foster
Nico Hulkenberg on the grid. Bahrain March 2023.

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg prepares for the race to start. Bahrain March 2023.

Nico Hulkenberg is not dwelling on missed opportunities in Formula 1, but the driver says he was “pretty certain” at one stage that he was close to signing with a top team.

Which team that was he didn’t say although he was linked to Ferrari ahead of the 2014 season.

The Haas driver, back on the grid this season after three years as a reserve driver, is relishing his second opportunity and has already twice qualified inside the top ten and has a P7 to his name from the Australian Grand Prix.

But for the driver with the longest streak of race starts without a single podium finish, Formula 1 is somewhat a story of missed opportunities for Hulkenberg.

It could have been a very different tale though had he landed a drive with a top team, the 35-year-old saying he “came close at one stage” but it didn’t happen.

“There’s always silly season, rumours every summer,” he replied to a question posed in a Reddit AMA.

“There’s no point dwelling about it or talking about it because that’s in the past, but I’m pretty certain I came close at one stage to signing with one of the top teams.

“But in the end it didn’t happen for one reason or another, which if obviously a bit gutting, but I’ve had a decent career in Formula 1 anyway and no thinking back or crying about it now.” recommends

Haas to reward Nico Hulkenberg ‘more than a bottle of beer or wine’ for maiden podium

Nico Hulkenberg identified as a perfect Max Verstappen wingman

Back in 2019 Hulkenberg revealed he had missed out on a Ferrari seat by “an inch” for the 2014 season, adding “there were definitely some talks and I think there was a realistic opportunity for quite a decent period of time but then unfortunately in the end it did fall through.”

Ferrari instead re-signed their 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen while Hulkenberg moved onto Force India.

There he partnered Sergio Perez, who he reckons was one of the tougher team-mates he faced in Formula 1.

“I don’t know, it’s a tight one,” he said when asked about his stiffest competition from a team-mate. “I think I’ve had a few strong ones with Checo, with Daniel [Ricciardo], with Rubens [Barrichello]. Carlos [Sainz] for a while. Many strong names that have achieved a lot in F1.”

As for which of his team-mates has been his favourite, he replied: “I don’t to be honest. In a way, I have a good relationship with everyone now and I’ve kind of got on with all of them so no favourites.”

Strangely one of the hot topics in the AMA was hair, his and the rest of the grid’s with the driver questioned about what he does to maintain his lushes locks and who he thinks has the best hair on the grid.

“Hair, I think people are way too interested in hair,” he said.

“I think Kevin’s got good hair, it’s consistently good. It’s shorter than mine so it always sits well.

“Who else do we have? Maybe Lando.”

Hulkenberg did not have an ideal start to his latest race weekend in Miami, triggering the red flags when he spun his Haas into the wall during FP1, so he will be hoping that is the end of his dramas.