Despite plenty of speculation last year linking Nico Hulkenberg with a full-time F1 seat in 2021, the German will be on the side-lines this upcoming season, though he is likely to become Aston Martin’s reserve driver.
Hulkenberg made three surprise appearances last campaign, with him filling in for Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll at Silverstone and the Nurburgring.
On both occasions, Hulkenberg was called up to deputise Racing Point’s drivers after they tested positive for COVID-19.
All things considered, the German’s performances boosted his stock in the F1 paddock and increased his chances of making a full-time return to the sport.
However, Hulkenberg has recently revealed that he nearly turned down the opportunities as they were not without their risks.
“At first, a lot of people said I absolutely had to do this, but I also pointed out directly that it was not that risk-free,” Hulkenberg said in an interview with the German edition of GQ Magazine this week.
“What do I have to lose? If I can’t do it, I’ll be burned and my comeback chances for 2021 are worse. But if you don’t dare, you can’t win anything.
“There wasn’t much time to think about it anyway. So I said ‘come on, do it, trust yourself and your talent’.
“In addition, the Racing Point was known to be a good car last year. At the end of the day, I’m a thoroughbred racer, that’s my passion and my craft. Confidence in my own abilities was the decisive factor in the weighing up.
“Anyway, I’m the type of guy who likes unorthodox challenges and likes to make the impossible possible. What is important is simply belief and trust in yourself,” he concluded.
Hulkenberg’s chances of making a return to F1 in 2022 are relatively slim, but, as Sergio Perez’s move to Red Bull highlights, missed opportunities can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.