Mercedes has been in discussion with free-agent Nico Hulkenberg over a potential role within its Formula 1 reserve driver line-up.

The German manufacturer’s Formula E drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries will serve as Mercedes’ F1 reserve drivers for this year, but ex-Renault driver Hulkenberg could also be drafted in.

Mercedes is considering adding Hulkenberg to its roster of stand-ins for grand prix weekends when Formula E clashes with F1 and both Vandoorne and de Vries are unavailable.

Having raced in F1 until the end of the 2019 season, and after deputising for Racing Point duo Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll at three races last year, Hulkenberg has vast experience of the current generation of F1 cars, as well knowledge of Mercedes’ power unit.

“There are certain races where there is an overlap,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. “Nico knows the current generation Formula 1 cars and the tyres.

“And it would be good to have him in the line-up as a solution, maybe to be shared with other teams, because he’s a known quantity and well respected.

“So, it would be good, but we didn’t put pen to paper.”

Should Mercedes sign Hulkenberg, he would also be available for its customer teams including McLaren and Aston Martin, neither of which have nominated an official reserve driver for this season.

McLaren has already confirmed it will continue to share reserve drivers with Mercedes this year as part of an agreement between the two teams.

“On our side we will do the same again as last year,” said team principal Andreas Seidl.

“We will have an agreement again with Toto, with Mercedes, to use their reserve drivers in case of an emergency. We’re happy with that.”

 

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