Nico Hulkenberg says he is ready to make the switch to IndyCar – if he makes a success of his test for the Arrow McLaren SP team on Monday.
The German is now reconciled to never being a full-time Formula 1 driver again, having completed nine full seasons between 2010 and 2019 – only missing 2011 after being dropped by Williams at the end of his debut campaign.
Last year, Hulkenberg stood in on three race weekends for Racing Point while Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were sidelined by illness, while this term he has again been the reserve driver for Aston Martin but has yet to step up from the substitute’s role.
Hence, with no new F1 opening available to him for 2022, the 34-year-old has decided to try his luck Stateside – and will take part in the rookie and driver evaluation test at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama to see how he fares in an IndyCar.
Arrow-McLaren SP are considering entering a third car in next year’s championship although not from the beginning, with a view to making that a full-time commitment from 2023.
They are looking for a driver to join Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and Hulkenberg may just fit the bill.
I am pleased to try out an Indy car and see what it’s all about. I want to thank @ArrowMcLarenSP and Chevy for the opportunity at relatively short notice. It will be great to drive a car for the first time and get a feel for the series ✌🏼 https://t.co/Gn9bLGg52Z
— Nico Hülkenberg (@HulkHulkenberg) October 20, 2021
“Of course I’m excited to go and drive again,” the Hulk told Motorsport.com. “I haven’t been behind the wheel for, I think, pretty much a year now – since Nurburgring [Eifel Grand Prix] last year. That crazy last minute step-in!
“I’m excited and I still feel I have a couple of good laps in my right foot. So it’s finding out about the [Indy] car.
“I watched the last couple of races and my heart is in single-seater racing. Obviously F1 isn’t going to happen, so you look for the next best alternative and IndyCar is definitely interesting.”
Having become a new father at the end of September, Hulkenberg said he would be ready to move his family to America next year.
“I think so, under the right circumstances, yes,” he said when asked about that prospect.
“It’s very doable, especially with a baby because you don’t have to really take kids from school and stuff. It’s actually the time to do it.
“[But] this isn’t my decision. It’s the team’s decision, how many cars they put in the championship.
“But we need to walk before we run. I’ll do the test and after that I’ll obviously know more about it, then we’ll sit down together and talk.”