Nico Hulkenberg expects to remain at Renault and says it is “quite likely” he will stay on at the French manufacturer for the 2020 Formula 1 season.

The German, who has had a significant influence on the team’s rise up F1’s pecking order since joining the team in the second year of its return to full works status in 2017, is out of contract at the end of the current campaign.

Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul previously admitted at the French Grand Prix that the team would consider its options beyond Hulkenberg for next season. But speaking ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix, Hulkenberg said he expects to stay put at Renault.

“There’s nothing set in stone but I think it’s quite likely I’ll remain with the team,” he replied when asked about his future and his feelings about the Renault project.

“I think it’s fair to say that so far this season we can’t be entirely happy with what we’ve achieved,” he added.

“To start with we had a lot of issues and missed out on results, a little bit more disappointing is where we are in terms of performance and development rate, we are not really where we wanted and needed to be, so behind the expectations this year.

“Probably, all in all, as well not entirely happy if you look across the three years, we can’t be entirely happy with what we’ve done.

“Nevertheless, the outlook is still good, we still see light at the end of the tunnel and we believe we can still catch up to some extent - how much is still is always difficult to say with entire certainty but we will see what happens in the future.”

Renault currently finds itself trailing McLaren by 21 points in the battle over fourth spot in the constructors’ championship, and Hulkenberg reckons the French squad would be “right up there” with McLaren had it not faced a troubled start to the season reliability-wise.

“It is 21 points that’s a fact,” he explained. “But I think we could be right up there with them if you add up all of the complications we had, all the missed results and problems.

“We should be there or thereabouts but for sure McLaren look very strong at the moment and are probably one of our main competitors that we will probably be battling with from here till the end.”

Hulkenberg is 11th in the drivers' standings, five points behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who penned a two-year deal after switching from Red Bull over the winter. 



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