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Hülkenberg Unveils Audi F1 Deal Amid Miami Fanfare

Hülkenberg Unveils Audi F1 Deal Amid Miami Fanfare

02/05/2024

Nico Hülkenberg addressed his Audi F1 team signing in Miami, emphasizing that his German nationality played a secondary role in the decision, focusing instead on the team’s future prospects.

Upon arriving at the Miami paddock today, Nico Hülkenberg publicly spoke for the first time since the confirmation of his transfer to Audi, stating he had gone through “various phases” during his break from F1 and that he was not actively looking to join a German team.

The 36-year-old driver will leave Haas F1 at the end of the current season to join Stake F1 for 2025 before the Sauber to Audi transition occurs at the beginning of 2026, ushering in a new era of F1 regulation.

“I think I was going through different periods,” he responded when asked if he always believed he would find a prominent spot in F1, or if he had ever felt it might not happen.

“There were weeks when I really didn’t think about it because I was happy where I was, and I didn’t spend too much time and energy thinking about it or trying to predict or steer my future. It was just going with the flow and enjoying life.”

“Then there were other times when I was a bit more motivated, trying to look for opportunities, wanting to secure a bright future. But I think that time for me was just really good to disconnect from motorsport.”

“I spent time in F1, but all those years in junior formulas and karting as well. That’s quite a lot of things—two decades or more. So, it was just nice to explore normal life to really refresh myself, reset, and then yeah, that feeling, that hunger came back on its own, and the rest is history.”

After three seasons replacing drivers for Racing Point and Aston Martin, he returned full-time to F1 in early 2023, immediately impressing alongside Kevin Magnussen at Haas.

This form has made him a serious candidate for Audi. With Hülkenberg, the team recruits a driver known for his solid feedback on car settings and development—and who also holds the right passport. However, this is a “secondary” factor, according to him.

“It’s a fact that I’m German, like them, but it’s secondary. It wasn’t that I was specifically looking for this. As a driver, you’re always looking for what you think is the best sporting package and the best opportunity for you in the future. I think for me, Audi is the right choice.”

The German is the first driver Audi has signed. Why him, first?

“It just happened, I don’t know exactly how it came about. As usual, obviously, you know, at some point, you start talking and as we all know, it has been and is still a very dynamic, fluid market situation.”

“And I think there was interest already last year, but I was at Haas F1 and there was no opportunity to leave, but the interest seemed to always be there, on their part. And they were very enthusiastic, I match their vision for the future. It’s a very exciting and interesting project, hence this agreement.”

Hülkenberg acknowledged that being integrated early, from 2025, into the team based in Hinwil would prove to be a valuable advantage before Audi’s arrival.

“Yes, obviously, it’s a year to set things up, it gives us time to get to know each other.”

“You know, there are still a few faces I know from 2013, but also many new faces. It will still be a Ferrari power unit, so it won’t be unfamiliar to me, but obviously, yes, I will get to know the team, the infrastructure there, and already try to help with some projects. We’ll see, I’m still very much in my season with Haas and focusing on what lies ahead.”

When asked how important Andreas Seidl had been in his joining, Hülkenberg replied: “Yes, he knows me from our Porsche adventure together at Le Mans and he’s also the deciding factor. One of the decision-makers, one of the key people in Audi’s leadership. So of course, it went through him. And he’s very straightforward with me.”

“I remember in 2020 when it was COVID before the season started, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But I remember calling him and he was obviously at McLaren at that time. I said to him, ‘Andy, what’s it look like? Is there maybe a chance for me?’ And he bluntly said, ‘No, don’t even hope for it. It’s not going to happen.’ Very direct!”

“And this time, years later, it was very different. He was very keen to sign me and have me.”

Hülkenberg Unveils Audi F1 Deal Amid Miami Fanfare

Hülkenberg Unveils Audi F1 Deal Amid Miami Fanfare. Hülkenberg Unveils Audi F1 Deal Amid Miami Fanfare

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