Timing and opportunity are often everything in Formula 1, and had Nico Hulkenberg still been on the driver’s market when Nico Rosberg retired, he could have been heading to Mercedes.
But the Renault driver says he is unfazed by missing out on a hypothetical chance to race for world championship outfit.
“Mercedes is the long-time engine partner of Force India and we did joint promotional activities for Hockenheim in the summer.
“Rosberg could have quietly told me that he would quit if he won the title,” Hulkenberg jokingly told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
At the end of the day, the German says he is perfectly happy with his current prospects at Renault and the chance to help the French manufacturer fulfill its long-term ambitions.
“My goal was to drive for a manufacturer. That’s what I’ve achieved with Renault. We both have unfulfilled goals.”
“If you don’t drive for Ferrari or Mercedes, there is no coverage and the driver performance is not as linked with the car performance. Nevertheless, I feel a lot of respect for my performance, especially internationally.”
Hulkenberg is rumored to be receiving a mega retainer at Renault, estimated to be in the $20 million region although Hulk is mum on the subject.
“You said the number, not me,” Hulkenberg insisted.
“But in financial matters, I am typically German, watching every penny and only spending what I won’t regret later. I’d rather take my risks on the track.”
Would you get in a car with David Coulthard?
For most people, especially Formula One fans and petrol heads, it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity you just couldn’t pass up.
But now imagine your’re on the way to the station and Coulthard is in fact masked by a fake beard and posing as a taxi driver.
Chuck in high speeds, crashing through road barriers and jumping over roundabouts and we think a lot of people’s position would change.
As you can see from this advert from Aviva, the journey wasn’t the most pleasant for these two passengers but it was at least memorable.
“The situation could not be better for a driver – a team wants you,” Hakkinen told Finnish TV station MTV3 this week. “Especially if it’s a team that has dominated Formula One such as Mercedes, it’s a dream situation.
“I can imagine Bottas winning the championship,” added Hakkinen, who had previously been part of Bottas’ personal management team along with Didier Coton and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
“When you get to the team which is on top of the mountain, and which is able to win championships and races, then it’s up to you to develop, to take wins and the championship.”
Bottas is believed to be favourite to take over from Nico Rosberg, who shocked the world of motorsport by announcing his retirement from the sport just five days after winning the 2016 championship.
The late notice of Rosberg’s decision to bow out has put Mercedes on the spot, with many top drivers already committed to other teams for the forthcoming season.
However it’s believed that Williams – who rely on engines supplied by Mercedes – might be persuaded to release Bottas if a suitable deal can be reached. It’s rumoured that Williams want the entire £14 million cost of their 2017 engine supply to be written off in exchange for releasing Bottas.
If the Finn does move on, Williams are set to recall Felipe Massa from a short-lived retirement to take over from Bottas as team mate to rookie driver Lance Stroll.
If Mercedes can’t reach a deal with Mercedes to secure Bottas’ services, they may have to promote 2015 DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein into the race seat alongside three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Currently unsigned for 2017, Wehrlein spent last season competing with Manor Racing, securing a point for them with tenth place in the Austrian Grand Prix.
Wehrlein’s former team mate at Manor and fellow Mercedes junior talent Estaban Ocon has already been signed to Force India for the new season, despite only taking part in nine races after taking over as a mid-season replacement for Rio Haryanto.