Hulkenberg proud to have 'survived' pay driver threat
Nico Hulkenberg has revealed that he is proud of the 'achievement' of surviving the pay driver era in Formula One as certain teams have opted to recruit performers who bring significant financial benefits to the team rather than their expertise behind the wheel.
Williams in particular have received plenty of criticism for the choice of drivers this season in the form of rookies Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, who both have plenty of money boosting their F1 careers.
Hulkenberg, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday, has been in F1 for nearly a decade, and he considers it an achievement that he has lasted this long due to the pay driver trend.
"In a way that is an achievement," he told Autosport in regards to his time spent overcoming the threat of pay drivers.
"To still be here and have survived that, I think it does say something about me and the driver I am. At the same time that sounds a bit sh*t also. And boring, you know? I want more.
"But we know that you need to have the right timing, you need to be in the right car in the right moment. That's why I am here now. My career is not done.
"I have a very good team partner with Renault now, and obviously we have a target together and a vision that we're fighting hard for and working for."
The biggest threat of this affecting Hulkenberg came in 2010 when he was replaced at Williams by Pastor Maldonado, but he was given the career lifeline of a reserve role with Force India.
"Obviously at the end of 2010, that was the most dangerous and severe time, let's say, after my first year and when Williams didn't keep me on," the Renault man continued.
"Since then, there were teams out there valuing talent over money - which was good for me. I never had the help of money in the background - it could be the cherry on the top a little bit - whereas some others had that to offer.
"But I had to do it through performance and convince that way."
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