BWT Racing Point F1 team announced that Nico Hülkenberg will be returning to Formula One and replace Sergio Perez for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit.
A native from Emmerich am Rhein, West Germany, Hülkenberg has made 177 career starts in Formula One, spanning back to his debut in 2010. He recorded his first and only career pole to date in 2010 for the Brazilian Grand Prix while driving for the Williams Racing team. From 2012 to 2016, he raced for the Sahara Force India F1 team and the Sauber F1 team. His last time competing in Formula One was last season as a full-time competitor for the Renault DP World F1 team, a team he competed with since 2017. Following the 2019 season, he became a free agent when Renault opted not to renew his contract in favor of Esteban Ocon and was unable to secure a full-time ride in time to compete in this year’s opener at Spielberg, Austria.
Hülkenberg’s return to the sport came a day after Perez tested positive for COVID-19 symptoms following an inconclusive test. The Mexican competitor went into isolation following the inconclusive test that later became a positive test for the virus, but he remains in “good spirits” and is physically stable while continuing to recover.
“I was on my way to the Nürburgring for another racing project when the call from Otmar came,” said Hülkenberg. “That was less than 24 hours ago, so it feels a bit surreal for me right now, but I like a good challenge and this is certainly one. It’s obviously a difficult situation for Racing Point and Checo [Perez]. He’s a buddy of mine, an old team-mate and I wish him a speedy recovery. I’ll step in and try do the best I can for the team!”
“Having to find a replacement for Sergio at short notice is no easy task, but in Nico we’ve got a fantastic supersub who the team knows very well,” Otmar Szafnauer, Racing Point Team Principal, said. “He’s certainly being thrown in at the deep end, but he’s a fast learner and I’m sure he will get up to speed quickly.”
Though he has achieved 94 top-10 career results and 511 points in his previous 177 starts, Hülkenberg continues to pursue his first career podium result in F1. His best on-track result in F1 is fourth place, a result he achieved in the 2012 Belgium Grand Prix, the 2013 Korean Grand Prix and the 2016 Belgium Grand Prix.
With Hülkenberg at Silverstone in time for the first practice session, it remains probable that he will also compete at Silverstone next weekend for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix with Perez not scheduled to compete next weekend, giving the German time to adjust back into the racing seat of an F1 car and a pair of opportunities to break through for his first podium result in F1 while he also continues to weigh in towards his racing plans for the future.