Hulkenberg admits top team move for 2025 unlikely

Fri, 5 April 2024, 09:00

Apr.5 (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg has played down his chances of leaping into a truly top car for 2025.

The 36-year-old German has impressed since returning to Formula 1 with the sport’s smallest team – Haas – last year.

But with his contract now running out, Hulkenberg is being linked with a move to Audi-owned Sauber – especially given his established working relationship and friendship with Andreas Seidl from their Le Mans days at Porsche.

Sauber is clearly not already a top team, but it will be a full works outfit by 2026 with clear ambitions to eventually win races and titles.

Hulkenberg told DPA news agency at Suzuka: “There is very little hope for a top cockpit.

“Hopefully in the next life, but I don’t think that’s where the journey will go now,” he admitted.

It could be a hint that Hulkenberg actually intends to stay at Haas for a third season, especially as the team has made a clear step forward in 2024.

“It feels like being in another world,” said the German. “We can race on Sundays.”

Haas team owner Gene Haas ousted boss Gunther Steiner over the winter, and his replacement Ayao Komatsu is now hinting at a cash injection for 2025.

“Gene promised more money to me if you prove you are using the money you have efficiently,” the Japanese is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport in Japan.

“It is up to us to give him the confidence that we are investing his money wisely.”

In the meantime, Hulkenberg is lingering on the 2025 driver market for now.

“It’s not a distraction,” he insists. “I’ve been through it all many times.

“If it distracts you, it’s bad for you and bad for the business. You have to be able to separate life on the track and conversations about the future.”

The ‘silly season’ this year started ultra-early, and over a dozen current drivers are still unsigned for 2025. “The balls are rolling in different places and there are a few interesting weeks ahead,” Hulkenberg admits.

“But I don’t feel any reason to rush. The important thing is to stay focused.”

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