Hulkenberg campaigned Red Bull for seat next to Verstappen
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko says that Nico Hulkenberg contacted the team to campaign for a 2020 seat as team-mate to Max Verstappen, even though both parties said no talks ever took place.
After Renault announced that Hulkenberg would not be retained for the 2020 season, with Esteban Ocon selected as his replacement, the German was forced to try and find a new team, with Haas and Alfa Romeo two of the strongest linked outfits.
He was unsuccessful, however, and left the sport after 2019, but not before trying to join Red Bull, who were still deciding between Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly after the former replaced the latter midway through the season.
"The initiative came from Hulkenberg," Marko told Motorsport-Total about any potential swoop for the driver.
“At that time we didn't know how it would end with Albon, so we left it open. Once we had chosen Albon, it became clear that there was no room for Hulkenberg with us.”
Throughout their time in Formula 1, Red Bull have established a junior driver programme and it is from this pool which they select their drivers. Marko admits it was because of this tradition that no move for Hulkenberg could ever materialise.
“So far we have only taken drivers out of our junior program. That gives our juniors a lot of security as soon as they are with us.
“Their chances of reaching Formula 1 are therefore very high. I do not want to say that we will never take someone from outside, but it must be significantly better."
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