Hearsay and rumours be darned for here’s the truth, take it or leave it. If Louis Chiron of Monte Carlo was no spring chicken at 58, which is when he was able to make his debut, then surely Nico Hulkenberg can most certainly return to the grid and make it count at 35.
Which is what has happened just hours ago on a day where right ahead of the final 2022 Formula 1 Grand Prix, F1 has created massive news, if not a furore, arguably speaking.
After stepping away from the sport finding no takers at the conclusion of 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his last race as a full-time Formula 1 driver, Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg is back to the mix.
Back to the madness where his mere presence, according to some, cuts through the mundane. In a sport that’s all about thrills and where tediousness is hardly the order of the day, one of F1’s most underrated sons is back.
But truth be told and with much due respect to the man described as the ‘Hulk,’ the former Renault and Force India driver does happen to be one of the most unsuccessful ones too to have sat inside an F1 machine.
Can all of that change the following season? What will 2023 F1 world championship bring, a year where two notable drivers from the current grid, namely- Daniel Ricciardo, interestingly a former teammate of Hulkenberg and Mick Schumacher won’t be there?
Answers there are none, questions, though run at fever pitch.
Surely, from a statistical point of view, the 2018 season turned out to to be the best for the Emmerich am Rhein-born Motorsport driver; Nico Hulkenberg scoring seventh at the end of the season on the Driver’s Standings with 69 points overall.
But what’s been a central highlight, albeit not the strongest one for the talented German is that despite entering 184 Formula 1 Grands Prix, Nico Hulkenberg failed to secure even a single career podium. In so doing, he’d send the F1 world into a tizzy in becoming a driver against whose name there stood a rather dubious achievement.
When it did seem that all of that was to change at the 2019 German Grand Prix (the last ever held at Hockenheimring), where the Deutscher began from ninth on the grid (ahead of his Aussie teammate Ricciardo), a strange incident on lap 39 ended Nico Hulkenberg’s dream of scoring his maiden career podium.
That being said, Hulk, as he’s called returns at the behest of Haas’ outgoing driver Mick Schumacher, whose exit captured some key insights from the end of Guenther Steiner.
I would like to thank Mick Schumacher for his contribution to the team over the past couple of years,” shared Mick Schumacher’s current team principal at Haas, Guenther Steiner.
But that’s not all; the 57-year-old Italian team boss of the American outfit also touched upon the class and caliber of Mick Schumacher who is now on his way out as German Nico Hulkenberg makes his return to the grid.
Steiner added, “Mick’s pedigree in the junior categories was well known and he has continued to grow and develop as a driver in his time with Haas F1 Team – culminating in his first Formula 1 points-scoring successes earlier this season.”
For sure it was in the ongoing season (with just one race to go) that Mick Schumacher earned his first ever points in Formula 1, putting to an end the long and perhaps even horrific speculation that he was just his surname and nothing beyond.
Now the news of his departure with there being no seat for 2023 whatsoever confirms the fact that you really cannot take anything for granted in Formula 1 and that just about anything is possible, regardless of the statement being a PhD equivalet in the sporting world’s greatest cliches!
The Mernao-born Italian team boss of the Gene Haas-founded team also wished Schumacher all the best for his future stating in no uncertain terms the following:
“While choosing to go in separate directions for the future the entire team wishes Mick well for the next steps in his career path and beyond!’