German professional racing driver Nico Hulkenberg has vowed to reclaim a "permanent cockpit for 2022". He wishes to be a part of the Formula One World Championship for the 2022 season. The Hulk has raced nine full Formula 1 seasons since his debut with Williams in 2010, but at the end of 2019, the German lost his Renault spot when the French team chose to hire young Esteban Ocon instead.
Last season, the 33-year-old deputised for Racing Point as a substitute driver on three occasions due to illnesses. Firstly, Sergio Perez had tested positive for COVID-19 in the two grands prix at Silverstone in August and then, Hulkenberg filled in for Lance Stroll, who was down with an illness which later turned out to be the Coronavirus.
Nico Hulkenberg on 2020 season
Reflecting on the last season, Hulk said, "At first, a lot of people said I absolutely had to do this, but I also pointed out directly that it was not that risk-free, “What do I have to lose? If I can’t do it, I’ll be burned and my comeback chances for 2021 are worse. But if you don’t dare, you can’t win anything.
“There wasn’t much time to think about it anyway". So I said ‘come on, do it, trust yourself and your talent".
The German emerged with a great deal of credit after good performances as a substitute driver for Racing Point. Hulkenberg does not believe that his days as a full-time F1 racer are necessarily over. In an interview, he wished to fetch a permanent spot in one of the teams in 2022 and said,
“I want to stay in the Formula 1 orbit and try to find a permanent cockpit for 2022. There were talks [for this year], but it didn’t fit together. I’ve had a good ten years in Formula 1, and I’m not the type who wants to keep going by the skin of my teeth."