Hulkenberg tempted but turned down Lotus drive due to risk factor
14 November, 2013
Speaking to media in Austin, Nico Hulkenberg revealed just how close he came to becoming a Lotus driver for the final two races of the 2013 season. He has opted not to take the risk of filling Kimi Raikkonen’s cockpit and stick with Sauber instead.
Hulkenberg explained, “Of course it was attractive and sounds attractive from the outside, but on the other hand it was only for the last two races which brings some risk with it. I think you have to see the bigger picture beyond after two races what can happen there and that is why we came up with this decision.”
“If I had stepped in there I don’t think people would have expected me to beat Romain right away. He seems to be fairly comfortable in the car and in the team now. He is also delivering very good results now, from that point of view,” he added.
Lotus is keen to sign Hulkenberg to replace Ferrari-bound Raikkonen but funding is scarce, and prospective investors Quantum Motorsport are an unknown quantity.
Hulkenberg admitted that had he been assured a drive by Lotus in 2014 he would have taken the opportunity offered to him this late in the season.
“I think had that been the case that would have been a big change in the whole plan, for sure,” admitted the highly rated German.
“I went [to Enstone] to see Eric [Boullier], speak face to face about these two races and beyond that as well because next year is important as well. So that is why I went there,” said Hulkenberg.
Lotus has confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen will be on duty for the team in Austin and Sao Paulo, opting for experience in an effort to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari, for second place in the Constructors’ Championship, in the final rounds. (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.