I’m not exactly sure why Nico Hulkenberg isn’t in a top team. I suspect it has to do with his rise through the ranks at Williams (having been let go in favor of a paying driver) and the lack of any available seats in top teams. His move to Force India saw him as a reserve driver for a season and eventually taking the helm and then later moving to Sauber (who seemed poised for greatness on the back of a strong 2012 performance).
Every car he’s been in has performed above its realistic expectations. He’s out-performed his teammates on most occasions and clearly has the talent to drive a Formula 1 car. Yet…no top seat.
We could argue that there has been no available seats at top teams but this year has seen a Red Bull seat open, a possible Ferrari seat open, a Toro Rosso seat open (likely will go to a young driver) and possibly a Lotus F1 seat open.
Most fans will suggest that the German has proven his worthiness on merit alone and even if he comes with little or no sponsorship, his talent should be enough in Formula One. Apparently its not…or at least hasn’t been up until this point.
If Ferrari isn’t looking closely at Hulkenberg as a replacement for Felipe Massa in 2014, then I am not sure what they are truly thinking in Maranello. They, of course, have their reasons and know much more about the situation than I but from a fans perspective, it makes little sense to ignore Hulkenberg.
The same could be said of Lotus F1 or Williams or McLaren or even Mercedes. Maybe he has cooties or something but I can’t explain it away. Clearly a talented driver and some argue he’s the best of the rest beyond Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen. I’m not sure I can argue against that except to say that this may be selling Nico Rosberg a little short.
In the end, if Hulkenberg isn’t in a top team in 2014, I’ll eat a hat. I just can’t imagine why a team wouldn’t take a chance on a young man that clearly puts his car in finishing positions it, quite honestly, doesn’t belong. Like I said, maybe teams know something I don’t like he’s a temperamental cuss who is impossible to work with but that isn’t how Williams described him when he was with their team. IT’s not how Sauber describe him either:
Nico Hülkenberg is renowned for his ability to work as part of a team. It is not a duty for him, more a central cog of his personality. As well as displaying a sound technical understanding of the car, he makes an equally valuable contribution to the positive spirit within the team with his relaxed, humorous and open manner. “We have been watching Nico for some time now and he has made a convincing case for himself with his performances,” explained Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “He has already shown on several occasions that he can seize the chance if it presents itself. But high spots are only one side to being a racing driver. Working constructively with the team also plays a key role, and here again I have faith in Nico. I’m sure he will fit into our team very well.”
Clearly he seems capable and I do hope a team will give him a shot…heck, they gave Heikki Kovalainen a shot, why not Nico?