Red Bull rule out Hulkenberg, surprised by Haas decision

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Nico Hulkenberg's options for 2020 have dwindled further as Red Bull ruled him out of contention.

The Anglo-Austrian outfit has yet to decide who'll race next to Max Verstappen and for Toro Rosso next season, after the mid-season swap of Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.

However, asked if Hulkenberg was a possible outside option, team boss Christian Horner confirmed Red Bull would be staying in-house for their two line-ups.

“Nico is a quality driver and deserves a seat in Formula 1,” he stated to Sky Sports. “It’s a bit strange he finds himself potentially on the benches.

“But as far as Red Bull is concerned, we have got our pool of young talent. We don’t need to look outside of that, so it would be very hard to imagine Nico being a factor in our thinking for next year.”

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That hasn't stopped Hulkenberg from trying though, as he confirmed making contact with the team's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko during the summer.

"I talked to the doctor [Marko] all through August," he said. "At some point, he said 'Do not call me anymore'.

"I couldn't say no to that car, so I guess you'd have to take it," he admitted on if he would accept an offer. "It would be obviously a big challenge as we know Max is a killer and he's one of the fastest."

While ruling out the current Renault driver, Horner did admit some bemusement at Haas' decision to continue with Romain Grosjean.

“I can’t see why they have [kept Grosjean],” Horner told Sky Sports F1 in Singapore.

“But that is their choice…they have all the data, all the info. But from the outside looking in you would say that it is an interesting choice.”

Hulkenberg's final choice appears to be Alfa Romeo, with Williams expected to promote reserve driver Nicholas Latifi alongside George Russell.

And while Ferrari have backed Antonio Giovinazzi, the man Nico would replace, team boss Fred Vasseur is known to be a big fan.

"I do not have to talk to Nico. There is no one who knows him better than me," Vasseur said.

"He was champion in Formula 3 and Formula 2 on my team, so I brought him to Renault in 2017 as well."