On Thursday afternoon it was announced in the Singapore paddock that Haas had extended the contract of Romain Grosjean. The vacant Formula 1 cockpit next to Kevin Magnussen is thus gone for 2020 – Hülkenberg, who leaves Renault at the end of the year, has one less option.
In Singapore Hülkenberg confirmed what had already been leaked from his entourage.
“I don’t have to stay in Formula 1 by the skin of my teeth. It’s a matter of feeling, it just has to fit.”
‘The Hulk’ hasn’t really made clear as to whether it was he who’d called off negotiations or Haas whereby an agreement wasn’t mutually agreed.
“Is that really so important? We didn’t get together. You talk, but sometimes it just doesn’t fit.” says the German to German’s Bild newspaper.
He also says: “I knew what would be announced. I didn’t pursue the Haas issue any further. It wasn’t the money.”
Steiner, team boss at Haas seems to confirm this saying:
“We decided to take Romain but I don’t know if Nico would’ve come. We spoke but we never made a formal offer. So I don’t know if he would’ve accepted or not, that you need to ask him.” according to Motorsport.com
According to Bild, Hulkenberg gives his appraisal of the few options left to him next year:
Alfa Romeo: “It certainly doesn’t hurt that with Frederic Vasseur there is someone who brought me to Renault back then. I know how the structures there are. It’s all about where other people make decisions, however.”
In other words, the Ferrari Group as title sponsor and in particular the Ferrari Young Talent Academy, which therefore claims at least one cockpit and Antonio Giovinazzi is currently driving alongside the Raikkonen.
Williams: “I haven’t thought about it yet. But after ten years in Formula 1, not sure about being at the tail end. Maybe I won’t need that then… I don’t really want to drive near the back of the grid.”
Red Bull: “I wouldn’t say no to the car, that would be a dream. But you have to see how realistic it is. Of course it would be a huge challenge, we all know what Max is a killer and that he is one of the fastest drivers.”
Red Bull traditionally relies on its own drivers from the junior team Toro Rosso. Alex Albon was last promoted alongside the seeded Max Verstappen. However, the British born Thai driver has no contract for 2020.
It’s frankly looking rather bleak for Hulkenberg who could take a year off in a similar fashion to 2011, but then if we’re honest, that’s often a one-way ticket to Le Mans, sportscars or Formula E.
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