After a long wait, RedBull Racing finally announced that Sergio Perez will be driving for them alongside Max Verstappen in 2021. Alex Albon on the other hand will be moved to a test and reserve driver role with a major focus on 2022 development. However, the question that asks itself is Why not Hulkenberg?
Nico Hulkenberg A.K.A The Hulk has earned another nickname this season. “The Super Sub” that’s due to his impressive performance earlier this season when he was summoned on short notice to replace Checo, who had contracted COVID-19 back in August 2020. Nico, who has been outside Formula One since 2019; was called in to jump into a car that he has never driven before. Yet, he still delivered; he scored Racing Point’s first top-three grid starting position this season. And he has never driven the car before!! This just shows how skillful, talented, and quick this driver is.
Despite his incredible performance this season and what he portraited during his time as a full-time Formula One driver; he was not selected to be in the RB17 next season. But Why?
For starters, Nico isn’t just known for being the Super Sub; he is also known for being one of the drivers who had never scored a podium in their Formula One careers. This is not because Nico doesn’t have the skills to do so, but mainly due to bad luck. However, this feature definitely haunts him and it is always in the back of his head. Which can create some kind of mental obstacle that Nico can’t overcome. And this is an essential characteristic that was certainly taken into consideration by RBR’s management. As their main goal of swapping Alex is finding someone who can score podiums regularly.
In addition, Nico hasn’t been in Formula One since 2019. Despite performing well on two occasions this season; Nico hasn’t experienced the pressure and struggles that accompany a full F1 season. And the 2021 season shall be the longest in the history of Formula One with 23 races on the calendar. If you have been outside the competition for a while, you won’t be able to cope with the pressure, the mental, and the physical requirements. Which will be reflected eventually on your results.
Finally, the main reason why Nico wasn’t selected is basically Checo Perez. Checo is coming off his best season ever in Formula One; he drove for his life and future during this difficult season. Checo was booted out of the team that he did everything he could to keep it on the grid today.
His efforts were definitely appreciated by Racing Point, however their decision must have left Checo with immense pain. Nevertheless, he gave everything he had to the team, and eventfully his hard work paid off. He scored his and Racing Point’s first Formula One win ever at the 2020 Sakhir GP.
This is what we believe the answer for Why Not Hulkenberg? How about you? Let’s discuss this in the comments below.
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