Nico Hulkenberg says he has no option but to play a “patient game” with his future in Formula 1 still uncertain beyond the end of the 2019 season.

The German has been left without a drive for 2020 after Renault signed Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon to partner Daniel Ricciardo next year.

Hulkenberg’s options of extending his spell in F1 are becoming increasingly limited after he was ruled out of contention for a possible Red Bull drive, while Haas opted to retain Romain Grosjean alongside Kevin Magnussen for a fourth straight season.

It leaves Alfa Romeo as Hulkenberg’s most realistic option of staying on the F1 grid, though Ferrari has a major influence on who gets the second seat at the team to partner Kimi Raikkonen.

Scuderia junior Antonio Giovinazzi’s future has not been decided but a recent turnaround in form has boosted his chances of remaining at the Swiss squad for a second successive campaign.

A seat remains free at Williams after Robert Kubica announced he will leave the team at the end of 2019, though it is understood that Formula 2 frontrunner Nicholas Latifi will replace the departing Pole.

Speaking in the FIA drivers’ press conference ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, Hulkenberg said: “There’s no news.

“So it’s a little bit more of a patient game, have to wait and see a bit longer.”

Asked about the prospect of him not racing at all in 2020, Hulkenberg replied: “I guess there is that scenario. If it wasn’t to continue here, after that, I haven’t given it much thought.

“I think also for me personally, I would take some time to get clarity over what I want, and find a new challenge.

“Of course, I would be in a racing car in the future because it’s what I love doing, it’s my passion. I think only time will tell on that.”

 

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