Hulkenberg At Center Of Driver Market Speculation

As the unexpected move of Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari unfolds, Nico Hulkenberg remains open to opportunities in the F1 driver market.

Mark Phelan

By Mark Phelan
Updated on February 25, 2024

Nico Hulkenberg 2024 Bahrain Testing
Nico Hulkenberg at the 2024 Bahrain Pre-season test

The F1 community was taken aback when Hamilton announced his departure from Mercedes to join Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season, a move that is expected to have a wide-ranging impact across the grid.

The departure has created an opening at Mercedes next to George Russell, leaving Carlos Sainz up for grabs after losing his seat at Ferrari to the seven-time World Champion alongside Charles Leclerc.

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Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the 17-year-old prodigy, is believed to be Mercedes’ top choice to fill Hamilton’s shoes, with Fernando Alonso, currently with Aston Martin and a two-time World Champion, also in the running as a possible contender.

Sainz is rumoured to be considering a move to Sauber as Audi gears up for its highly anticipated entrance into F1 in 2026.

This dynamic shift in the driver market could create opportunities for Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg, who is also on Audi’s radar despite approaching his 37th birthday later this year.

In a discussion with media during pre-season testing in Bahrain, Hulkenberg expressed his calmness regarding his future and mentioned that discussions with Haas about his contract have not yet begun.

When questioned about his timeline for solidifying his plans for 2025, he responded, “It doesn’t work like that, when I want.

“It’s not what I wish – it’s always what opportunities you have; what the opposition wants; your team or whoever else.

“Historically, the bigger teams sort out that kind of stuff earlier and the smaller teams always take more time for one reason or another.

“But I don’t have any particular stress there. I want to get the season started and hopefully I can have a few good performances and then we’ll see what opportunities might arise from it or not.

“To be honest, we haven’t even spoken here because it’s early days.

“You’ve seen how the focus is on the pre-season and on the testing and I suspect over the next few months a conversation will start to happen here.

“Your current team is always an option, I think that’s pretty obvious.

“But there might be other options opening up too, but I think that’s quite early to foresee or to know.”

“Every race is important, but if you have a good start to the season immediately there is that [positive] dynamic or that [negative] dynamic.

“And that always can point you in one direction or another.”

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

Mark is a staff writer specialising in the history of Formula 1 races. Mark researches most of our historic content from teams to drivers and races. He has followed Formula 1 since 1988, and admits to having a soft spot for British drivers from James Hunt and Nigel Mansell to Lando Norris. He loves a great F1 podcast and has read pretty much every drivers biography.

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