Marko: Hulkenberg wanted Red Bull, but Red Bull didn't want Hulkenberg

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has revealed Nico Hulkenberg was the instigator in contact between the two parties late last season.

The German found himself out of a seat in Formula 1 for 2020 after Esteban Ocon's arrival at Renault from Mercedes was announced following the summer break.

Options at Haas and Alfa Romeo came and went as they opted to stick with the same line-ups, leaving only Red Bull as the last resort but the Anglo-Austrian team wasn't particularly interested.

“The initiative came from Hülkenberg,” Marko told Motorsport-Total.

“At that time we didn’t know how it would end with [Alex] Albon, so we left it open. Once we had chosen Albon, it became clear that there was no room for Hulkenberg with us."

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Given Red Bull had struggled to find a driver able to compete alongside Max Verstappen consistently, Hulkenberg was seen as a solid alternative, given his reputation as one of F1's top midfield talents.

But Marko says choosing him would have gone against the philosophy Red Bull has developed.

“We would break our promises," he claimed. "So far we have only taken drivers out of our junior program, that gives our juniors a lot of security as soon as they are with us because their chances of reaching Formula 1 are therefore very high.

“I do not want to say that we will never take someone from outside, but it must be significantly better.”

As it stands then, Hulkenberg is set for his first year off the track since 2011, when he was Force India reserve, but he appears content with it all for now.

“At the moment it is not as difficult as I expected. Maybe after 10 years, it’s not so bad at all to have a break, especially after a difficult year like 2019. Who knows what it will be good for in the end,” GrandPrix247 quoted him as telling German's DPA news agency.

As for his future plans, he added: “At the moment the only certain thing is that I will not be in a car for the first race of 2020."