Nico Hulkenberg has confessed to a sense of disappointment that Formula 1’s biggest teams have overlooked him for 2014, despite his impressive form.
Although rivals like Fernando Alonso have repeatedly praised the German’s speed, Hulkenberg was not picked by Red Bull, Ferrari or McLaren for vacancies they had, and now looks set to miss out at Lotus too because of its financial situation.
If the Lotus deal does not come together, it means that Hulkenberg will have to choose between a return to Force India in 2014, or staying on board at Sauber for a second season.
When asked if there was a sense of frustration that teams have not moved for him in spite of all he has done on track, he said: “I’m a little bit disappointed, yes. But on the other hand it is only my third year in F1 and other guys had to wait a bit longer than that for the big opportunity.
“Of course you are impatient and you want to be in a competitive car as quick as you can, but on the other hand it would be nice to be somewhere. With Ferrari it was close, but it didn’t happen for the reasons we know. McLaren, I don’t know — they seem to have no interest. I don’t know why.”
Hulkenberg has been waiting on Lotus to sort out its financial situation, but an investment deal from Quantum Motorsports has yet to be completed. If that buy-in does not happen, Lotus will opt for Pastor Maldonado because of the hefty backing he has from Venezuelan oil company PDVSA.
Hulkenberg said that he was now pushing on with finalizing his plans for 2014, and that he was not holding out for Lotus to call him.
“This is not just a situation that I am waiting for Lotus and for Quantum,” he said. “That is not the truth. It is a matter of getting everything together and negotiating the right deal with the teams that are in the hunt.
“The whole Lotus situation has been around for weeks and it is an ongoing process on the side, but it is not that I am waiting every day for a call for them.”
Hulkenberg said that his future plans were still open, and is well aware that he will have to commit soon if he was not to risk losing out on a seat entirely.
“I think there is danger around and you need to be careful, keep eyes and ears open,” he said about the prospects of missing out on a 2014 seat. “I think also there are options and opportunities and interest from team and as long as we have that, then there is a good chance I will be here.”
He added: “But, it doesn’t bother me as long as I have one when next year comes around the corner.”