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Formula 1: With Audi into the future: Hülkenberg becomes a construction assistant

Formula 1: With Audi into the future: Hülkenberg becomes a construction assistant

Now it’s official: Nico Hülkenberg will be a construction assistant for Audi’s Formula 1 project. That’s why he’s changing teams next season.

Nico Hülkenberg has secured his place in Formula 1 in the long term and will lead the Audi project to success from next year.

The currently only German regular driver is leaving the US racing team Haas after this season; from 2025 he will initially drive for Audi partner Sauber. From 2026, the 36-year-old will be a factory driver for the Ingolstadt-based car manufacturer in the premier class. “If a German manufacturer enters Formula 1 with such determination, then it is a unique opportunity,” said the Rhinelander after the change was announced on Friday.

Hülkenberg’s cockpit swap has been a topic of whispers in the paddock for a long time. The veteran has now signed a multi-year contract with Audi. “Right away there was great mutual interest in tackling a project of this unique nature together,” said the future managing director of the Audi team, Andreas Seidl, about the discussions with Hülkenberg.

Reform could create a new balance of power

Audi will take over the Swiss Sauber team completely and enter Formula 1 as a works team in 2026. In two years, a major engine reform will take effect in the racing series, which could reshuffle the balance of power. “Nico is a strong personality, his impulses on a professional and human level will help us advance both in the development of the vehicle and in building the team,” said Seidl.

Hülkenberg brings with him the experience of more than 200 Grand Prix participations. He came to Haas last season after a three-year break as Mick Schumacher’s successor. Although he was often behind in the mostly inferior car, he was always able to set highlights, especially in qualifying.

This season, Hülkenberg has already finished in the points three times and is 13th overall after five races. “He is a great team player and someone we really enjoyed working with,” said Haas team boss Ayao Komatsu.

Hülkenberg still wants to race when he’s 40

Hülkenberg was already racing for Sauber in Formula 1 in 2013, but left the Swiss team after just one year. The German also made a name for himself as a reliably fast racing driver in his other positions in the racing series, but never made it to a podium.

Hülkenberg described the tricky task at Audi as a great honor and challenge. He recently indicated during his guest appearance in China that he is far from thinking about quitting. “It’s always difficult to predict how long you want to do something. But a few more years, until you’re 40, it’s not that far away,” said Hülkenberg recently in Shanghai.

The Spaniard Carlos Sainz is considered a possible second construction helper in the Audi cockpit. The 29-year-old will lose his regular place at Ferrari to record world champion Lewis Hamilton at the end of the season and is said to have a well-paid offer from Audi.

If Sainz also follows this call, Sauber’s two current regular drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu would have to give way. The favorite to succeed Hülkenberg at Haas is the top British Ferrari talent Oliver Bearman. Mick Schumacher currently no longer plays a role in the driver market.

Source: Stern

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