Despite a successful junior career, Nico Hülkenberg holds the record for the most Formula 1 starts without ever stepping foot on the podium. Now, he is hoping for a return to winning ways with a seat in IndyCar.
The German F1 racer crossed the start line on 179 races without taking home any silverware. But away from F1, Hülkenberg won in endurance racing when he triumphed at the 2015 Le Mans 24 hour race.
Now, the former Renault driver is hoping a move to IndyCar could help him add to his trophy cabinet – if he can follow in the footsteps of fellow ex-F1 racer Romain Grosjean.
During an evaluation test at Barber Motorsports Park on Monday, October 25th, Hülkenberg will drive one of the Chevy-powered Arrow McLaren SP cars at the 2.3-mile road course.
He told Autosport:
“Once we get going on a third car, whenever that is, which won’t be the start of the year, we’ll then run a third car [full-time]. We’re not going to be in and out: once we go, we’re going.
“For sure, we’ll run a third car in 2023, maybe we’ll get that out at some point in ’22.”
McLaren previously ran a third car during the Indy 500 earlier this year, when Juan Pablo Montoya hopped behind the wheel.
If Hülkenberg likes McLaren’s IndyCar machine, would he be a welcome addition to the US paddock?
During the test on Monday, Hülkenberg will be joined on track by Kyle Kirkwood and Devlin DeFrancesco, who will test for Andretti Autosport; David Malukas, who will test with Dale Coyne Racing; and Logan Sargeant, who will get behind the wheel for A.J. Foyt Racing.
Hülkenberg was dropped by the Renault F1 team at the end of the 2019 season as it opted for French driver Esteban Ocon to partner with Daniel Ricciardo. Since then, he has acted as Racing Point’s reserve driver and competed in two races in the 2020 season – despite not being a fan of the team’s pink look.
In 2021, Hülkenberg was appointed test and reserve driver for the Aston Martin F1 team. Despite ambitions to return to the F1 grid full-time in 2022, Hülkenberg revealed that his option had closed off in recent weeks.