The 2019 Abu Dhabi GP saw off two drivers as Hulkenberg and Robert Kubica were let off, where there is no certainty of a F1 return. Of the two departures, however, the Renault driver’s is the most surprising with him being replaced by Esteban Ocon.
The German has spent more than a decade as a strong competitor in the midfield, and was thought to be a very talented driver, with links to the top teams for a drive at one point. But luck didn’t go along with him as even with the credentials, he had to go.
Following the season completion, Hulkenberg officially bid goodbye to the Renault team – first in Enstone on Monday and then in Viry on Tuesday as he now ends his tenure with the French manufacturer as Ocon takes over alongside Daniel Ricciardo.
During the Abu Dhabi GP, Hulkenberg reflected on his departure from F1 as he felt neither sad nor surprised to be leaving since this outcome was clear long ago. The German felt better as he got the break he wanted to re-think his career ahead.
“I’m fine with it, to be honest,” he said. “It is not new. I’ve known for a while that it is what is coming, but I am fine about it. But part of me is also excited about the time ahead, you know: close this chapter, and open a new one.
“And what might happen or might not happen in the future. I don’t know, nobody knows right now. I’m not ruling out anything. That’s why for me, it’s still fun at the moment and a big part of me is excited about that break that I’m going to get.
“But for me personally, it’s just to get away for a while. Then I want to disconnect a bit from racing for a few months and then see what I’m up to with my head and my heart, and then reassess.” Hulkenberg re-affirmed that his love for F1 is still despite the snub.
“This is obviously an amazing job and we’re all pretty fortunate to be in this industry. F1 is very unique, very cool and special but of course it’s kind of a preset life, you have to follow a schedule, all the trouble you do, all the commitment in between that we have as drivers.
“Something which not everybody sees or is aware of. It can be quite intense at times. So just to get away from that [will be soothing].” While his racing plans still remains up in the air, Hulkenberg said his immediate focus will be on his other businesses he has.
[This was written by me for FormulaRapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]