Nico Hulkenberg has decided not to pursue a move to IndyCar for “personal reasons” despite an encouraging initial test.
The German driver was at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on October 25 to try out an Arrow McLaren SP with a view to a potential switch to the series, possibly for some of the 2022 season and all of 2023.
The 34-year-old ex-Formula 1 racer put in more than 100 laps and was just over a second down on the day’s fastest time, saying he had found the physicality of driving the car difficult as it was a “steering monster” and that he needed to hit the gym.
Before the test, Hulkenberg, who became a father for the first time in late September when his wife, Egle, gave birth to a baby girl, had said a move to North America was “very doable” and “actually the time to do it” from a family perspective.
But it now appears he has had second thoughts, having confirmed in a tweet that an IndyCar switch is off the agenda for the time being.
“Quick update regarding IndyCar,” tweeted The Hulk. “It was exciting to test an IndyCar two weeks ago and I am grateful to Arrow McLaren SP for this opportunity.
“However, for personal reasons I decided not to go ahead with it. Keep you posted on my future plans.”
Quick update regarding Indycar: It was exciting to test an Indycar two weeks ago and I am grateful to @ArrowMcLarenSP for this opportunity. However for personal reasons I decided not to go ahead with it. Keep you posted on my future plans. #WeRideOn
— Nico Hülkenberg (@HulkHulkenberg) November 4, 2021
No Formula 1 race seat is likely to materialise for Hulkenberg because he is not believed to be a contender for the one remaining place on the grid in 2022 at Alfa Romeo alongside Valtteri Bottas.
That position appears far more likely to go to a young gun in Guanyu Zhou or Theo Pourchaire rather than the veteran of 179 starts for Williams, Force India/Racing Point, Sauber and Renault.
However, he has not been required to stand in at a race weekend so far, unlike in 2020 at Racing Point when he deputised for Stroll and Sergio Perez in three grands prix, although one of them he was unable to line up in as his car could not be fired up in the garage.
Hulkenberg’s withdrawal from contention for the third Arrow McLaren seat could open the door for his ex-F1 rival Stoffel Vandoorne, who is also due for a test during the off-season.