Nico Hulkenberg believes his chances of returning to Formula 1 will not be hurt if he does not get to race for Racing Point again in this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Racing Point called on Hulkenberg to replace Sergio Perez at last weekend’s British Grand Prix after the Mexican tested positive for COVID-19. Hulkenberg just missed out on a spot in Q3 but then failed to race due to his power unit seizing when the team tried to fire up the car. His opportunity for another outing this weekend hinges on whether Perez tests negative for the coronavirus.
“Of course if you have a strong result it’s a good advertisement, but that is valid all the time,” Hulkenberg said. “But people, and team principals, don’t look at one-offs, especially when it’s under these circumstances.
“So of course it would be good to have a great race, if I’m in the car. I just want to be a good replacement and help the team as much as I can, contribute during the race weekend. The rest will sort itself out later and is kind of a separate matter.”
Although Hulkenberg – who is on the entry list at this point – admits he will be disappointed to not race if Perez can return, he says he is realistic that his role was only to fill in while the regular driver was unavailable.
“Obviously that would be of course somewhat disappointing after preparing, being back in the car, getting a taste of it,” he said. “But obviously it was always clear that I’d come in as a temporary replacement for Checo, not knowing if it is one race, two races or what, and he’s the main driver and whenever he’s good to race again he’ll be back.”
Despite his extensive F1 experience, Hulkenberg admitted that it was a big challenge for him to try and adapt to a new car so quickly last weekend.
“Every car is kind of different, seating position, the noises, every car has a different feel to it, and just coming in without any kind of preparation, really getting thrown out there… obviously I ran in 10 mins before FP1, got changed, did the jump out test, then I was straight out there doing a usual Friday program,” he said.
“This, together with just learning about the car, high fuel, low fuel, different engine modes… everything I did was the first time with this car, so just adapting to it and then learning as fast as possible.”