Dubai: Germany’s Formula 1 record-holding driver Nico Hulkenberg has reiterated that he has completed his business in the sport following his F1 exit after the final race in Abu Dhabi at the end of the 2019 season.
The German, who turns 33 in August, had a chequered career starting with Williams followed by Force India, Sauber and finally Renault, and he walked away with the world record for the most Formula One career starts without a podium finish.
After Esteban Ocon took over the German’s seat at Renault, Hulkenberg was rumoured to have links with Haas, but that didn’t last due to his high wage demands. He was also seen to make a move towards Alfa Romeo, but the Ferrari-powered team opted to retain the services of Antonio Giovinazzi for a second season.
During a career spanning eight seasons over a period of 10 years, Hulkenberg walked away with 511 points, one pole position, two fastest laps and of course, the unwanted record of the most starts without a single podium finish.
In an interview with CNN, Hulkenberg admitted that he believed the break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic offers the sport a perfect time to make some changes.
Speaking to CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies over Instagram Live, the German said that the time without racing also offers an “opportunity for F1 to change a few things” for the betterment of the sport.
The German admitted the impact of the pandemic on Formula One has been far reaching. “It’s obviously real and a lot of industries and companies and corporations are struggling, and I think there will be some consequences,” he said. “But I also think it’s an opportunity for F1 to change a few things, talking about budgets there and certain types of regulations. So, I see it also as an opportunity and, hopefully, it will come up with some good answers and (I) hope that everyone survives that and that we can return to good, proper racing after this.
“Racing is racing, but of course it’s entertainment and races just need to be really entertaining. We had some stunning races like Hockenheim last year. (It was) dramatic. Fights left, right, centre. You didn’t know where to watch first. And there were a couple of those. And then sometimes you had really dull races.
“So we just need good average races that are entertaining to watch all the time, a lot of close wheel-to-wheel racing, and then I think naturally the sport will get more attractive because people enjoy watching that, they enjoy watching us fighting as much as we do as well.”
A linguist of sorts for being fluent in Dutch, German, French and English, Hulkenberg brushed aside all rumours of a possible move to Ferrari, despite being without a car when the 2020 season commences in Austria in August. He had also been linked to a move across to Formula E.
“That’ll only be happening in my next life, I’m afraid … If we’re realistic and honest, I don’t see that,” he said.