Nico Hulkenberg says he is talking to “quite a few people” over the possibility of securing a full-time Formula 1 drive for 2021.

Hulkenberg lost his Renault seat at the end of 2019 when the French manufacturer opted to sign Esteban Ocon to partner Daniel Ricciardo this year, and he was unable to secure another drive to remain on the grid for this season.

The German made a shock comeback at last weekend’s British Grand Prix as replacement for Sergio Perez after the Racing Point driver was ruled out of the weekend having tested positive for COVID-19, though he failed to take the start due to an engine issue.

While continuing to deputise for Perez during Thursday’s media duties ahead of this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, Hulkenberg confirmed he is holding talks with teams about next year.

“To be frank I’ve been in contract with quite a few people from the Formula 1 industry and a few team principals because obviously we all know each other,” Hulkenberg said. 

“Some were just casual chats, some more about the future subject. I’m definitely in discussions and talks there but nothing to say concrete yet there. I guess it’s a matter of a couple of weeks before things get will get a bit more concrete and firm.

“And if not Formula 1 to be honest that is not so clear in my mind yet either, I’ll take it one step at a time and see how things roll and which way they’re going in a couple of weeks’ time.

Perez is in line to return to action for Racing Point at the second round at Silverstone after completing his required quarantine period, as long as he can provide a negative COVID-19 test.

Despite failing to take part in Sunday’s race, Hulkenberg’s impressive return to F1 machinery at such short notice drew praise from Racing Point and rival drivers, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen saying he deserves a full-time spot on the grid.

“It’s nice to hear the feedback and the opinion of people about it, definitely well-received, and nice to hear and read personally,” Hulkenberg explained.

“I think it doesn’t really play a big role when it comes to future questions because at the end of the day there are other things they are looking at.

"Of course if you have a strong result it’s a good advertisement but that stands always and valid all the time.

“But I think people, and team principals don’t look at one-offs, especially when it’s under these circumstances, so of course it would be good to have a great race, if I’m in the car.

“I just want to be a good replacement and help the team as much as I can, contribute during the race weekend, and the rest will sort itself out later and is kind of a separate matter.”

 

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