Nico Hulkenberg has been signed as the newly rebranded Aston Martin F1 Team’s reserve and development driver, the constructor announced on Wednesday.
Hulkenberg raced in three grand prix with Racing Point last season after Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll both tested positive for COVID-19 (at different points of the campaign.)
Despite impressing many in the paddock with his strong stand-in performances, the German missed out on a full-time F1 seat for 2021.
He was strongly linked with a move to Red Bull, but the Milton Keynes-based team ultimately decided to sign Perez as Alex Albon’s replacement.
Commenting on his new role, Hulkenberg said he is “fully prepared” and hopes that Aston Martin drivers Sebastian Vettel and Stroll will enjoy “uninterrupted seasons” in 2021.
“The team knows it can rely on me to step in and do an excellent job,” Hulkenberg said.
“And I’m fully prepared for that challenge.
“It’s great to get this deal signed up with plenty of notice – last year, I didn’t have quite as much time to prepare before jumping in the car!
“I’m really pleased to once again work with this team – with whom I have driven many times during my career.
“It will also be interesting to help develop the team through the season, and I’m really looking forward to pulling great lap times out of my arm sleeve.”
Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer, for his part, said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s very important to have a strong reserve driver in 2021.
“In these difficult times, the requirement for a capable and experienced reserve driver is especially important,” Szafnauer said.
“Nico proved last year that he could jump in the car and perform superbly at a moment’s notice; now, with additional scope for preparation and integration, we know that we can rely on Nico to do an excellent job.”
Last month, Hulkenberg announced that he would be taking on a dual reserve driver role with Aston Martin and Mercedes in 2021.
He explained that he will be on call for Aston Martin at most grand prix this year, and will be ready to fill in for Sir Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at grand prix which regular Mercedes reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries won’t be available due to clashes with their Formula E racing commitments.
Based on the current F1 and Formula E calendars, there will be three clashes this campaign.