German professional racing driver currently racing for the Renault F1 Team, Nico Hulkenberg, has been reminiscing back five years when the German had a chance to move to Formula 1 giants, Scuderia Ferrari.
The German came through junior categories with comparisons to Michael Schumacher tied to him as he won title after title, although the same success has eluded him in Formula 1 and he remains the most experienced driver in history to not secure a podium finish, having entered his 165 grand prix in Canada last week. Nico Hulkenberg has been racing in F1 since 2010, and is considered a solid driver – despite never scoring a podium in the sport. The German driver signed for Sauber back in 2013 on a two-year deal, but due to financial difficulties with the Swiss team; he had to break his own contract. The now-Renault driver was in negotiations with numerous teams – including Scuderia Ferrari – with Brazilian driver Felipe Massa on the verge of joining Williams to conclude his Formula 1 career.
Kimi Raikkonen was chosen by the Maranello team in the end after negotiations with both drivers, as the 2007 Formula One world champion eventually rejoined the Italian side after impressing at Lotus.
“You never really know what to expect, and people who make these kinds of decisions do not tell you,” Hulkenberg Nico said on the official Formula 1 podcast – “There was some discussion, and I think there was a real possibility, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.” – he admitted.
After the Ferrari deal not going through, Hulkenberg joined Force India – where he spent three years – before joining Renault in 2017, where he has been ever since.
Hulkenberg would have partnered Fernando Alonso at Ferrari in what would transpire to be the Spaniard’s final year in red after several near-misses in the championship prompted his ill-fated return to McLaren. Asked if Alonso might have influenced the outcome which saw Raikkonen hired instead, Hulkenberg replied: “I’d like to know that too.”
The German confirmed he discussed the matter with Fernando Alonso in later times, but remains unsure if he ever got any further clarity. He said: “With Fernando you can never be totally sure what he says and what he actually means [are the same], you know? I think he likes the games sometimes so I’m not really sure if he was supporting it or not to be honest and now anyway it’s in the past.”