• Nico Hulkenberg could return to F1 in 2021.
• Haas and Alfa Romeo are interested in his services.
• Hulkenberg raced for Racing Point recently after Sergio Perez contracted Covid-19.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Following his failure to secure a 2020 racing seat, Nico Hulkenberg seemed done with Formula 1.
But a stroke of luck came his way when Racing Point driver, Sergio Perez, tested positive for Covid-19. As is customary, Perez had to be quarantined for 14 days, which saw him miss out on two Grand Prix.
The team roped in Hulkenberg's services for these two races, and the Hulk was like a fish in the water. On his first outing for Racing Point, he qualified 13th, but could not start the race due to technical difficulties on the car. The following weekend, Hulkenberg qualified third and finished the race in seventh place.
Not bad for a driver who is not race fit…
Hulkenberg's antics drew the attention of two teams who could be looking to sign him for 2021, but which team should he decide on?
Which team, do you think, should Hulkenberg sign with in 2021? Email us your opinion.
Haas is one of three teams struggling to score decent points in 2020. At the time of writing, they were ninth in the Constructor's championship, between Alfa Romeo and Williams - the latter still to score a point this year.
Haas' only point of the season came in Hungary when Kevin Magnussen finished the race in tenth place. This is hardly a cause for celebration, but the team will at least be happy to have scored a point.
If Hulkenberg is to join Haas next year, he will likely replace Magnussen's team mate, Romain Grosjean. Grosjean is an accident-prone driver and often finds himself as the cause for an incident. In terms of expenses, he is one of Haas' biggest headaches, and it was a shock to learn that the team would be retaining him for 2020 and not bring in Hulkenberg; who was heavily linked with the team in the closing stages of 2019.
There might be one problem with signing Hulkenberg, though. He and Magnussen have never really sat next to the same fire, so we can prepare ourselves for possible fireworks.
Both Alfa Romeo and Haas have links with Ferrari, meaning that the Red team will assist these two teams technically wherever and however possible. Ferrari was instrumental in bringing both teams to F1, but none of these three teams is making an impact on the sport this season.
In Austria, the opening race of the season, Antonio Giovinazzi, scored the team's only two points of the season. After that, it's been a gradual decline down the pecking order and staying competitive is the team's biggest challenge. This trend will likely continue into 2021, with the only real chance at a new beginning coming in 2022.
If the team is to sign Hulkenberg, it will be to replace Kimi Raikkonen who is touted to retire at the end of 2020. Signing with Alfa Romeo would mean bringing up the rear of the grid and being lapped by the leaders, race after race. With the prospect of 2022's technical regulation overhaul coming into play, Hulkenberg will play a significant role in 2021 in getting the team ready for it. He'll probably sign for two years, with the option to extend for one more.
If these two teams are Hulkenberg's only options at a return to F1, his best bet would probably be Alfa Romeo. Though Gene Haas, Haas F1's owner, is a reckoned name in motorsport, he is not as invested in F1; having threatened to pull out of the sport on several occasions. Alfa Romeo is also not a definite certainty either, but it's ties to motorsport are deeply rooted. And with strong relations to Ferrari and their technical expertise, the team's future is more secured.
But Hulkenberg should know one thing: neither team will finish in the points without luck in 2021.