Hulkenberg not thinking about 2026 Audi possibility

Sun, 18 June 2023, 12:00

Jun.18 (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg says it’s not his problem that his performance in 2023 may have terminally ended Mick Schumacher’s Formula 1 career.

The 35-year-old was drafted in by Haas to replace his struggling young German compatriot Schumacher this year – and has even showed the way at times for the team incumbent Kevin Magnussen.

Boss Gunther Steiner admitted a 2024 contract confirmation for Hulkenberg is now likely.

“I think they’re quite happy,” Hulkenberg smiled when asked about that by Sport1.

As for whether he is aware that his performance has potentially buried Schumacher’s chances of ever returning to the grid, he added: “That’s not on my radar.

“I deal with my situation and how we can improve. I’m not trying to bury anyone – I’m just doing my job and having fun.

“And it’s always clear that this is a very tough and performance-related business. It was no different for me.

“If you don’t perform, you’ll be gone sooner or later,” Hulkenberg said.

But with his own stock so high at present, some are even thinking that Hulkenberg – as the only active German racer in F1 – is an obvious choice to be signed by Audi for 2026.

“At the moment I’m just living in the present,” he insisted. “That’s what suits me very well.

“In 2026, I’m 38 and I’m not looking that far into the future at the moment.”

However, the impressive form of the almost-42-year-old Fernando Alonso at present might give Hulkenberg some hope that he can remain in F1 for quite some time.

“That may be the case in theory, but is it the same for me? Every person is different,” he responded.

“As you get older, your mind and your reflexes slow down. Things still seem to be going well for Alonso but I can’t predict when that will start for me.

“Everything is working fine at the moment. And as long as that’s the case and I’m having fun, I’ll try to keep going,” said Hulkenberg.

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