Hulkenberg feels he can no longer control his Formula 1 future
Nico Hulkenberg feels his Formula One future is out of his control with the German running out of options for when he leaves Renault at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old driver, who will be replaced by young Frenchman Esteban Ocon, had been linked with Haas, but that door closed on Thursday when the team opted to keep an unchanged driver line-up of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
“I think it’s to a big extent out of my control now, out of my hands,” Hulkenberg told reporters at Singapore’s floodlit Marina Bay track.
“Most important is to drive and to perform.
“I think there are still possibilities and a realistic chance. But at this game you can never be too sure.”
Haas became the sixth out of 10 teams to confirm their driver line-ups for next season. Of the remainder, Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso are unlikely to sign anyone from outside their driver development programme.
That leaves Alfa Romeo and Williams as Hulkenberg’s only options.
The German won the junior GP2 (now Formula Two) series with Alfa Romeo principal Frederic Vasseur’s ART team in 2009.
Vasseur also signed Hulkenberg for Renault during his brief stint as principal there but Alfa Romeo, the former Sauber team that the German drove for in 2013, have Kimi Raikkonen signed for next season.
Antonio Giovinazzi’s future at Alfa is uncertain but the Italian is a Ferrari-backed driver, with the Maranello-based team using Alfa as a training ground for young drivers from their academy.
Former champions Williams, with whom Hulkenberg made his Formula One debut in 2010, have a vacancy after Robert Kubica announced on Thursday he would be leaving at the end of the season.
They have endured a trying year with a woefully slow car, however, and are languishing at the bottom of the team standings with just one point.
They also have Canadian reserve Nicholas Latifi, who is second in the Formula Two standings and can bring valuable funding to the team with his billionaire father already having invested in McLaren.
Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Hulkenberg, who holds the F1 record for the most races without finishing in the top three, said he would only stay on the right terms but wasn't currently considering another series.
“I’m not disregarding or disrespecting Williams. I’m not desperate to stay in Formula One and just take anything,” he said. “As much as I want to continue... it needs to make sense, it needs to be the right deal.”