Nico Hülkenberg on the approach – to the Nürburgring. Even before the Formula 1 racing team, Racing Point, officially appointed the Rhinelander as a substitute driver on Saturday afternoon, 48 minutes before the start of the qualifying training, the German reported from the atmosphere surrounding the cult site of German motorsport. But even for a deserving Formula 1 racing driver with 178 Grand Prix under his belt, not all doors open immediately. Hülkenberg first had to overcome the Corona hurdles of Formula 1 before he was allowed to climb into the racing car of the Canadian Lance Stroll, who was “not 100 percent comfortable”. That was not a thorough test for Hulkenberg, but for the Sars-CoV2 virus.
The test team at the Nürburgring can also be quick: after 90 minutes, the negative result gave the usually positive Emmerich free course for the third deployment in his former team. Without a training lap, almost straight from the test station into the pit to prepare for qualifying (3 p.m. on RTL and Sky). But there is only one thing that is more painful for racers like Hülkenberg than no trial lap: watching.
One call is enough
That was the case in the summer when Hülkenberg stepped in for regular driver Sergio Perez at Racing Point. A positive test had taken the Mexican out of the race. Hülkenberg impressed right away in training and starting place races in the fast racing car accelerated by a Mercedes drive. But on the day of the British Grand Prix, the 33-year-old couldn’t even get out of the garage with his racing car: clutch damage, after work.
Because Perez remained positive about his pain, however, Hülkenberg got a second chance a week later on the same racetrack for the anniversary Grand Prix of Formula 1 at its birthplace 70 years ago. He used it: seventh. His appearance convinced the team leadership of Sebastian Vettel’s next employer. The racing team has the adapted seat in their luggage, all data is saved. Hülkenberg knows the car and the race track in the Eifel, since 2013 for the first time on the Formula 1 calendar, anyway.
In order to get going with the German, who was a co-commentator for the Formula 1 of the TV channel RTL in Cologne, a phone call is enough – and a Covid test at Formula 1 pace. Whether Hulkenberg, fortunately for him, will be able to finish third in a Formula 1 race for the first time is questionable. Racing Point has lost speed compared to the competition. The forecast Eifel weather will hardly help him: fresh, but no rain.