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Nico Hulkenberg

Haas F1
Nationality deu German
Birthplace Emmerich
Date of birth 19/08/1987 (36 yr.)
F1 debut 2010, Bahrein

Which former Formula 1 driver once won the 24 Hours of Le Mans? That's right, among others, Nico Hülkenberg! The man from Emmerich, Germany, who used to compete in many kart races in the Netherlands, will return to the F1 grid in 2024 with the Haas team.

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F1 season 2024

WC Position 13
Races 7
WC points 6.0
Victories 0
Podiums 0
Pole positions 0

F1 career

World titles 0
WC points 536
Races 210
Victories 0
Podium places 0
Pole positions 1

Personal Information

Naam Nicolas Hulkenberg
Team Haas
Date of Birth 19 August, 1987
Place of Birth Emmerich, Germany
Height 1.84m
Weight 78kg
Nationality German
Race Number 27

Biography of F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg

A driver with a racing CV full of accolades, Nico Hulkenberg's F1 career is one unfairly highlighted with unenviable records and near-misses.

Having won championships on almost every step towards F1, the German is yet to break his streak of never having finished on the F1 podium.

How did such a naturally gifted racer get to this point in his racing career? Here is everything you need to know about the life of Nico Hulkenberg.

Teams and teammates | Nico Hulkenberg

Team Teammate Season
Williams Rubens Barrichello 2010
Force India Paul Di Resta 2012
Sauber Esteban Gutierrez 2013
Force India Sergio Perez 2014
Force India Sergio Perez 2015
Force India Sergio Perez 2016
Renault Carlos Sainz 2017
Renault Carlos Sainz 2018
Renault Daniel Ricciardo 2019
Racing Point Lance Stroll 2020
Haas Kevin Magnussen 2023
Haas Kevin Magnussen 2024

Hulkenberg's junior career

The early signs of Hülkenberg's driving prowess were evident as he clinched karting titles in Germany before transitioning to single-seater cars in 2005.

Commencing his journey in Formula BMW in Germany, Hülkenberg outpaced Sebastien Buemi to secure the championship. Subsequently, he achieved victories in the German F3 Championship and clinched the championship title in the now-discontinued A1 GP series. This success was coupled with a third-place finish in the Formula 3 Euro Series.

In 2008, Hülkenberg made another attempt and secured the Formula 3 Euro Series title, showcasing his dominance. This was followed by an exceptional and championship-winning GP2 campaign, solidifying his position as the top candidate for promotion to Formula 1.

Moving into F1

Hulkenberg duly moved into F1 in 2010 with Williams, partnering the experienced Rubens Barrichello.

The German made steady progress in his debut year, taking a best finish of sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix, and notably scoring his maiden pole position at the season's penultimate round in Brazil, successfully gambling on a late switch to slick tyres on a drying track.

But despite a solid season, rumours began to circulate that Hulkenberg would lose his drive for 2011 to the well-funded Pastor Maldonado, and sure enough, after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, team boss Frank Williams confirmed that the Venezuelan would replace Hulkenberg for 2011.

A year on the sidelines, then a return to the grid

Unable to secure a race seat for the remainder of the year, Hülkenberg assumed the role of reserve driver at Force India. During that season, he participated in all but five Friday practice sessions.

After spending a year on the sidelines, Hülkenberg was promoted to a race seat with Force India for the 2012 season, stepping in for Adrian Sutil and joining Paul Di Resta as his teammate.

Making a strong comeback, the German showcased his skills by outscoring Di Resta with 63 points to 46. He achieved a career-best fourth-place finish at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Hülkenberg's notable performance extended to the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, where he took the lead in challenging weather conditions and led the race for 29 laps. Unfortunately, his chance for victory diminished on Lap 54 when he half-spun into Lewis Hamilton, resulting in a time penalty. Despite finishing fifth, it was a clear case of missed opportunities for the German driver.

A stint at Sauber before a return to familiar surroundings

2013 saw Hulkenberg on the move, with the German heading to Sauber for the new season. The German once again got the better of his teammate, comprehensively outscoring Esteban Gutierrez by 51 points to six.

The Sauber C32 initially proved a tricky beast to tame, and Hulkenberg scored only seven points in the first half of the season.

However, the Swiss outfit were more competitive in the second half of 2013, with Hulkenberg notably qualifying an excellent third on the grid at Monza, and taking six points finishes in the last eight races to end the season 10th in the Drivers' standings.

Though the German's good form saw him linked with a move to Mercedes, that seat would ultimately be taken by Lewis Hamilton, and Hulkenberg instead returned to Force India for 2014 in place of his former teammate Di Resta, this time with Sergio Perez for company.

Though Perez would score the team's only podium of the year with third at Baku, once again it was Hulkenberg who notched the lion's share of the team's points, taking 96 points to Perez's 59, aided by a ten-race scoring run from the season's start.

Consolidation at Force India

Hülkenberg and Perez continued as teammates at Force India for the 2015 season. However, this time, the advantage went to the Mexican, who accumulated 78 points compared to the German's 58. Perez once again secured the team's sole podium finish, claiming third place in Sochi.

The addition of a B-spec chassis midway through the 2015 season bolstered Force India's performance, allowing Hülkenberg and Perez to be more competitive. Despite scoring 19 points less than in 2014, the team achieved a higher standing in the Constructors' Championship, finishing the season in fifth place for the first time.

Teammates once more in 2016, Perez outperformed Hülkenberg, securing two podium finishes and accumulating 101 points. Hülkenberg, on the other hand, struggled to break into the top three, managing only 72 points with a fourth-place finish at Spa as the highlight of his season.

Le Mans success and Renault move

While Hülkenberg had yet to secure a podium finish in Formula 1, he achieved victory in the 2015 Le Mans 24-hour race. Winning the prestigious endurance event driving a Porsche 919 alongside Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy, Hülkenberg became the first active F1 driver to win Le Mans since Johnny Herbert and Bertrand Gachot in 1991. This triumph injected new vitality into his F1 career, which had been at risk of stagnation in the midfield.

After four seasons with Force India, Hülkenberg opted for a change in 2017. He accepted an offer to lead the Renault team, which was still in the process of rebuilding after returning to F1 the previous year. With modest expectations due to Renault's ongoing development, Hülkenberg's performance, earning 43 points, was deemed satisfactory. This was especially noteworthy considering his teammate Jolyon Palmer struggled in the sister car, managing only eight points before departing the team after the Japanese Grand Prix.

Two more years with Renault

2018 saw another step forward for Hulkenberg and Renault. The German improved his overall points tally to 69, which was enough to place him seventh in the Drivers' Championship behind the Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes drivers.

Hulkenberg also got the better of new teammate Carlos Sainz, who scored 53 points, with the two drivers ensuring that Renault ended the season fourth in the Constructors' Championship.

The German also walked away unharmed from a dramatic accident at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he was tipped into a spin by Romain Grosjean and barrel-rolled into the barriers.

With visible progress over two years, Hulkenberg might have seen 2019 as the year when he could finally score that first podium finish.

Alas for the German, Renault's progress stalled in 2019, with Hulkenberg slipping to 14th in the Drivers' standings with only 37 points.

The German was also overshadowed by new teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who had come into the team amid much fanfare, and when Renault wished to bring Frenchman Esteban Ocon on board, Hulkenberg was shown the door at the end of 2019.

A super-sub in 2020

With no seats available for 2020, Hulkenberg was forced onto the sidelines that year, but was given an unexpected chance to shine four races into the season when Sergio Perez contracted Covid and Racing Point drafted Hulkenberg in at short notice to replace his old teammate.

Though power unit issues prevented the German from starting the British Grand Prix, he kept his seat for the following weekend's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at the same venue, and reminded everyone of his talent by qualifying a brilliant third, and then racing solidly to finish seventh.

Perez returned to his seat thereafter, but Hulkenberg was again called upon to deputise for Racing Point later in the year, as this time Lance Stroll had tested positive for Covid.

Qualifying last after having missed all the practice sessions, Hulkenberg made his way through the field and finished a fine eighth.

More substitute appearances and a full-time ride at last

Having served as a stop-gap for Racing Point in 2020, the team now known as Aston Martin signed Hulkenberg up as their dedicated reserve driver for 2021 and beyond.

With no prospect of a full-time drive on the horizon, Hulkenberg tested an IndyCar in the closing weeks of 2021, but eventually decided against a switch to the US-based series.

Though Hulkenberg was not called upon to race in 2021, the German was pressed into action for the first two races of 2022, after Sebastian Vettel became the latest driver to be laid low with Covid.

The AMR22 was not a car with which Hulkenberg could truly display his talents, but the German brought the car home on both occasions, finishing ahead of Stroll in Saudi Arabia.

Hulkenberg had at least managed to stay relevant and remind everyone of his presence, which must have worked in his favour when Haas decided to replace the error-prone Mick Schumacher for 2023.

With his solid super-sub performances still uppermost in people's minds, Hulkenberg was given the drive at Haas, and will thus make a full-time return to the F1 grid for the first time in four years.

Though Haas are unlikely to be fighting at the front of the grid in 2023, Hulkenberg at least has the full-time ride that his talent deserves.

After earning nine points for the team compared to his Danish teammate who scored three points, the Haas team accumulated a total of twelve points. As a result, they finished last in the Constructors' Championship. In the final races, the American team was displaced from the ninth position by AlphaTauri, which staged a strong comeback. Nico Hülkenberg will also drive for the Haas team in 2024.

Nico Hulkenberg | Haas F1 driver © Haas
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