Hulkenberg 'said no' to 2021 F1 seat but eyes 2022 return

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Nico Hulkenberg has revealed he turned down a seat in Formula 1 this season, but does want to return in 2022.

The German unexpectedly found himself on the grid at three Grands Prix last year with Racing Point, replacing Sergio Perez for both Silverstone races and Lance Stroll at the Nurburgring after both drivers caught Covid-19.

His strong stand-in performances even made him a potential Red Bull option for 2021 before Perez ultimately took the seat of Alex Albon.

But while Hulkenberg admits he is happy in semi-retirement, the lure of next year's new cars does interest him.

“I want to stay in the Formula 1 orbit and try to find a permanent cockpit for 2022,” Nico told GQ. “Who knows what will happen this year.

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“There were talks [with a team for this year] but it didn’t fit together. I’ve had a good 10 years in Formula 1 and I’m not the type who wants to keep going by the skin of my teeth.

“Especially not at the back, just to be there. So I deliberately said no and I was at a point where this time out was quite welcome for me personally.”

While Hulkenberg admits he'll only consider competitive options, factors that have impacted his entire F1 career continue to do so.

“You have to differentiate a little bit between the top and the rest of the field,” he explained. “In the midfield and at the back, other factors such as politics and financial aspects play a role in decisions.

Hulk Quali 2010 BraGP

“I’ve experienced that myself. In 2010, right after my first year, Williams sacked me because they got into financial trouble and Pastor Maldonado came with a decent dowry.

"Of course it was bitter and frustrating, but these are factors beyond my control.

“I can drive the way I want, that’s higher politics and I have to accept that – and I did. But I looked ahead again relatively quickly, refocused on the future and concentrated on the things I can control and influence myself.

"Everything else is wasted time and wasted energy.”

Aston Martin, the new name for Racing Point, has hinted at keeping Hulkenberg on again as reserve driver for 2021.