Red Bull are considering Nico Hulkenberg as a candidate to replace Pierre Gasly in the team's 2020 driver line-up, according to reports in Italy. Motorsport.com's Italian branch says Gasly must step up his performances if he is to convince Red Bull of his long-term prospects.
The Frenchman has not made a great impression yet, finishing at the back of the leading pack in three of the last four races, and further back in the opening two grands prix.
Although he has closed the gap in qualifying to Max Verstappen in recent weeks, he remains comfortably off the pace of the Dutchman, who is pushing Sebastian Vettel for third place in the drivers' championship, despite Red Bull's struggle for headline pace so far this year.
Hulkenberg has been similarly luckless in 2019 so far, failing to score since a seventh-placed finish in Australia, with he and Ricciardo struggling as Renault have been forced to run below maximum power at most races this year.
Any potential swoop from Red Bull would raise eyebrows, given the public war of words between Renault and Red Bull in the past as the French manufacturer's struggles to keep pace with Mercedes and Ferrari in the V6 Hybrid era caused consternation at Milton Keynes.
F1's Netlfix show 'Drive to Survive' documented the sniping between team principals Christian Horner and Cyril Abiteboul over the move for Ricciardo and any approach for Hulkenberg may be seen as retaliation.
Hulkenberg is a 10-season veteran in F1, but holds the unwanted distinction as the driver to have raced in the most grands prix without scoring a podium.
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