Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Yas Marina, 2019

Official: Racing Point name ‘supersub’ Hulkenberg as Perez’s replacement

2020 British Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg will return to Formula 1 at this weekend’s British Grand Prix in place of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

The 32-year-old’s unexpected return to Formula 1 has come about as a result of Perez testing positive for Covid-19. Hulkenberg left Formula 1 last year after losing his drive with Renault.

Hulkenberg will be reunited with a team he knows well, having driven for them in five seasons when they competed as Force India. He was the team’s reserve driver in 2011, then graduated to the race team in 2012. Following a season at Sauber, Hulkenberg returned to Force India for 2014-16.

“Having to find a replacement for Sergio at short notice is no easy task,” said Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer, “but in Nico we’ve got a fantastic supersub who the team knows very well.

“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.”

Hulkenberg said he was “on my way to the Nürburgring for another racing project when the call from Otmar came.

“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. 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.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Official: Racing Point name ‘supersub’ Hulkenberg as Perez’s replacement”

  1. José Lopes da Silva
    31st July 2020, 10:59

    Thank God, the Providence and everything above! For once there was a little common sense in place.
    I was seriously fearing that we were going to have Stroll and Gutierrez in the 2nd best car this weekend.

    1. Oh come on Red Bull wasn’t that far behind Mercedes in Austria. Silverstone is a lot more like Austria than Hungary. Plus Red Bull clearly messed up their setup for Hungary.

      1. Well, they must have messed up again. Mercedes is clearly the quickest car, by a country mile. No one is going to catch up this year and no one is going to catch up next year.

        You do sound a lot like Wolff, always downplaying advantages. Verstappen was 5 tenths from pole in Austria, a circuit with 8 corners and it’s very short. Off course they are going to be a bit closer there.

        Silverstone is long, so they are further away, Hungary has nothing but corners, so they are going to be further away.

        It’s too bad Mercedes are so far ahead. Could have been a mighty season otherwise, as all the other teams seem to be relatively close.

    2. Indeed, having two pay drivers in the second best car would have been a travesty.
      Racing Point might become likeable.

  2. The season goes more and more bonkers. Here’s hoping he’ll do well.

  3. I’m putting a fiver on Hulk getting his first ever podium this weekend!

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      31st July 2020, 11:34

      Might join you. Come on Hulk!

  4. A podium or two with Racing Point, then he’ll be ready for his first win if Mercedes also require a replacement driver at some point this year (hopefully not!).

    1. that would be an easy call on Russell though

  5. How amazing would it be for Hulk to get his legendary elusive podium after he actually ‘retired’ from F1?

  6. This is very good news – whatever your thoughts on Hulkenburg he was better than the alternative of Gutierrez. I really hope he gets his podium finally. Would be a very strange situation if he does finally achieve that!

  7. So happy for Nico… if only there was a crowd there, I bet they would sell a lot of #27 hats..!

    A lot of people will be gunning for him this weekend.

  8. I feel like the more we talk about ‘the podium’ the less likely it is to happen, I don’t think anyone would be begrudge him one though. It would be a great story.

  9. Lets gooo hulkenberg podium hype

  10. Called it!
    Ask my kids if you want proof!

    Solid choice. I hope he has an awesome weekend

  11. Good job he was in a country without UK quarantine restrictions! How recently was he tested before arriving in the paddock?

    1. He was quoted as saying when he got the call he was on his way to another racing venture. As such I would imagine he has been tested frequently to ensure he can still compete.
      He was also tested at 8am this morning as reported on UK C4 coverage of FP1.

    2. He was tested on Thursday at the circuit testing base and was allowed to enter the paddock on Friday after he tested negative. He entered the paddock just ten minutes before start of P1.

  12. Feel good for Nico and hopes he can maximize the opportunity from the next 2 races.

  13. The team got instantly 200-times more likeable. It was great to see Nico take it on the track for the first time, I hope for a good results on Saturday and Sunday.

    1. Agreed. He’s looking comfortable in the car and putting in some good laps.

  14. Well how the wheel turns, I would think the Hulk will be further up the grid than his team mate by the end of qually.

  15. Not really sure how they could safely bring in Hulkenberg – no time for testing, not been in RP’s “bubble”

    I would have thought reserve drivers would have needed to be traveling and staying inside the F1 bubble and that there would have been a need for outsiders to be isolated before being free to enter into a teams bubble.

    Kinda makes a mockery of all the so called “precautions” that F1 say they have taken.

    1. @dbradock Joke right?

      1. Why a joke? They have all these Coronavirus protocols yet can let a complete outsider straight in with no regards at all to any of them.

        F1 keeps patting itself on the back about its strict protocols yet in reality there are none. Drivers being able to just swan off home, hulk just moving straight into the group….. not really what you’d call strict is it.

    2. Apparently the team was fine with Perez flying to Mexico too, so I guess there’s no travel bubble.

  16. as a non native english speaker, does “supersub” mean super substitute? because it confuses me as sub is sometimes used in the expression “subpar” which means not that great. and “sub” alone means “under”, something lower. I don’t know, the expression supersub just doesn’t sound as good as it’s probably intended

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