German racing driver Nico Hulkenberg will serve as a reserve driver for both the Mercedes and Aston Martin Formula 1 teams. The ex-F1 pilot discusses what this means and how he could potentially serve as a replacement for Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
After failing to secure a seat with Red Bull for the 2021 F1 season, Hulkenberg decided that he would turn his attention towards being a reserve driver to stay connected with the F1 paddock. Rather than securing an agreement with just one team, the ex Renault man landed a role with both Aston Martin and Mercedes for this season.
"I'm the man for all cases now," Hulkenberg said to Bild.
"That means I'm ready for Aston Martin and Mercedes if one of the regular drivers can't, or in the case of Mercedes, the actual replacement drivers can't because they are starting in a different series.
"After the opportunity to drive for Red Bull didn't work out at the end of last year, I had to look for the next best one. It was clear to me that I wanted to stay in Formula 1 orbit in order to maintain the chances of a regular cockpit for 2022. I can certainly learn something new from both teams and broaden my horizons.
"I no longer sit in a Formula 1 car all the time, but somehow I'm still involved everywhere. That means I have to keep myself just as fit as before and then be ready. Last year we saw how fast it can go.
"I think the best I can do is stick with it and be right there when a door like that (race seat) opens."
Hulkenberg also stated that while he will keep himself fit and ready to go at a moment's notice.
"I always have my cell phone with me anyway, but I'm definitely not going to sit in front and hope that someone from Formula 1 will call," Hulkenberg continued.
"Of course, I always have to make sure that I'm in good physical shape. It's possible that your motivation will sometimes be a little more difficult than before, but of course my fighting weight is still in the green."
The German will also dovetail his racing commitments with a media role, discussing what his new position with the Red Bull owned Servus TV entails.
"The difference to my appearances on RTL last year is that I comment on the races on Servus TV together with Andi Groebl," Hulkenberg explained.
"That means I have a lot more time to explain and assess things than if I am only asked about certain situations. It will definitely be an exciting task. The chemistry between Andi Groebl and me is perfect and we get along great.
"At Servus TV we are currently only broadcasting from the studio in Salzburg due to the corona pandemic. There should be an airport nearby. As soon as the pandemic is over, I'll be there for Servus TV in the paddock."