Aston Martin has signed experienced German and last seasons’ super sub Nico Hulkenberg as their reserve and development driver for the 2021 season.
Hulkenberg will be available to step up to a race seat should regular Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll or Sebastian Vettel be unable to participate in a Grand Prix.
The 33-year-old, who has some 176 race starts under his belt, has driven for Williams, Sauber, and Renault in a career spanning a decade. Hulkenberg also has plenty of experience working with this team, having raced for them under their previous guises as Force India and Racing Point.
“First of all, it’s great to get this deal signed up with plenty of notice – last year, I didn’t have quite as much time to prepare before jumping in the car,” said Hulkenberg. “I’m really pleased to once again work with this team – with whom I have driven many times during my career.
“Obviously, I’m hoping that Sebastian and Lance enjoy uninterrupted seasons this year, but the team knows it can rely on me to step in and do an excellent job, and I’m fully prepared to take on that challenge. It will also be interesting to help develop the team through the season, and I’m really looking forward to pulling great lap-times out of my arm sleeve.”
Hulkenberg raised eyebrows last season when stepped in for the absent Sergio Perez at the British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix, after the Mexican contracted COVID-19 and was unable to race. The German bagged himself a second row start at the second race in Silverstone qualifying in third and finishing inside the points. He also deputised for Stroll at the Eifel Grand Prix who had “flu-like symptoms” and sat out that particular race.
Otmar Szafnauer, Aston Martin Team Principal, praised the German’s ability to jump into a car and get the job done.
“Nico proved last year that he could jump in the car and perform superbly at a moment’s notice; now, with additional scope for preparation and integration, we know that we can rely on Nico to do an excellent job.”