Nico Hulkenberg says he is not looking at options outside of Formula 1 for next season while waiting for teams to confirm their 2021 line-ups.
The German was without a drive this season but has impressed on three substitute appearances for Racing Point after both that team’s drivers missed races due to testing positive for COVID-19. Hulkenberg has been linked with a seat at Red Bull if Alex Albon isn’t retained, while line-ups at Haas and Alfa Romeo have yet to be announced, and he admits his full focus is on an F1 return for now.
“I’m not necessarily looking at outside F1,” Hulkenberg told ESPN’s F1 podcast. “A little bit, of course — I have to be aware of it. I’m not someone who needs to rush into the next thing or cockpit now. I think I need to be clear first really what I want to do — F1. If the door is closed, fine, I’ll look at the next thing and what I want to do and if I want to do it. But we’re not quite there yet. Obviously my name is linked with a few teams, so it’s waiting to see what they feel and what they want to do.”
While he is proud of the performances he put in for Racing Point, Hulkenberg says they mainly serve as a reminder to people of his ability and keep him in conversations over vacant seats rather than have an instant impact.
“The situation in F1 is 20 seats — it’s super limited. This is again one thing out of my control and other people making that decision for me, or about me. But I’m not too stressed about it.
“I delivered when I had the chance this year; if you’re not fully doing a season it’s kind of difficult, you’re not that visible and people tend to forget quickly. They always just tend to just remember the last race. Not so easy to make an impression, so I was very happy to be able to (run) some races and perform well, I think I did what I had to do and now it’s up to them.
“I think more that it’s a good way of reminding people what I’m capable of, that I’m still around! But it’s not like someone put a contract right in front of me — it hasn’t had that kind of impact.
“On the other side if it had been a normal year, no coronavirus, no step-ins for me, I also wouldn’t have had a contract in front of me. So that didn’t change the situation but of course people are more aware now, my name has been mentioned in the press a lot and of course it’s given some positive media and coverage.”