Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says Nico Hulkenberg could be an option for the team in 2021 after revealing that talks were held with the German driver about driving in Formula 1’s Eifel Grand Prix.

An inconclusive COVID-19 test for Alex Albon prompted Red Bull to call Hulkenberg about the possibility of stepping in to replace Albon should his test have returned a positive result.

Albon was ultimately given the all-clear and Hulkenberg instead ended up replacing the unwell Lance Stroll at Racing Point to make his third substitute appearance of the 2020 season.

"We were already in talks with Hulkenberg on Friday, because Albon, like many others, had an inconclusive test result," Marko told German broadcaster Sport1.

"It could have turned out to be positive. Right after landing I called Hulkenberg, because our suspected case was Albon. But thank god, it turned out that Albon was negative after all.”

Hulkenberg and Perez have both been suggested as potential options for Red Bull next year to partner Max Verstappen with Albon struggling to match the Dutchman’s level of performance this season.

Neither driver is yet to secure a race seat for 2021 but Marko indicated Red Bull would not be against making a move for Hulkenberg or Perez should Albon’s struggles continue.

"We can call the names that are available on the market," Marko explained. "This is Hulkenberg and this is Perez. The question is how far away they would be from Max?

"We have comparisons with [Daniel] Ricciardo and we can draw conclusions about where the drivers stand. I don't think that anyone would get closer than three tenths.

"On good days, Albon is also able to create this proximity to Max. Albon is young, but we are aware that if he can't stand the pressure, we can't afford to be standing on one leg when it comes to the world championship. That is the situation.

"It is actually impossible for a world championship if you only have one car in the action. But we are not there yet.

"The performance [of Albon] at the Nurburgring was satisfactory. That's just the situation."

 

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