Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel is now under added pressure due to Aston Martin signing Nico Hulkenberg as their reserve and development driver, according to 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button.
Vettel’s tenure at Aston Martin got off to a bad start, with reliability issues hampering his running in pre-season testing and him having a miserable first grand prix with the British racing outfit.
Hulkenberg, who missed out on landing a Red Bull seat this season, saw his stock rise in the paddock after he was very impressive during his three stand-in grand prix for Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll last year.
And, Button believes his arrival at the newly rebranded team will put Vettel under more pressure as Aston Martin know they have a strong back-up driver primed and ready should they decide to drop the four-time F1 World Champion.
“Just to add a little more pressure on Seb’s shoulders!,” Button wrote on social media after Hulkenberg was confirmed as Aston Martin’s reserve and development driver.
Commenting on his new role earlier this month, Hulkenberg said he is “fully prepared” and hopes that Aston Martin drivers Vettel and Stroll will enjoy “uninterrupted seasons” this campaign.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have a strong reserve driver ready to step in.
“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.”