Nico Hulkenberg has explained why 2023 is the perfect time to execute 'project return' after three years on the sidelines.
The German will return to F1 action next year after replacing Mick Schumacher at Haas, ending a three-year sabbatical that started at the end of the 2019 season.
Hulkenberg had become the super-sub of the paddock during his time without a full-time drive as he filled in for Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel when the sport dealt with the effects of Covid.
“After ’19, that was what I wanted and what I needed, a break," said the 35-year-old.
"Obviously, I wasn’t a third driver or anything so I really had the time to step back and disconnect from it properly.
“Then it was Covid-time so there was not much going on. Once the 2020 season started, obviously, soon after that, I came to Silverstone to replace Checo [Perez] but it was good for me to have time away to digest and reflect on some things and change my perspective a little bit too.
“Of course, sometimes it is difficult when you have to watch and you are on the sidelines but I think at that time it was still ok for me in 2021."
But things changed for Hulkenberg during the most recent season, leading him to contact Haas team principal Guenther Steiner during the summer to gauge his chances.
“This year, watching got a little harder, especially when you are analysing what you see and you think you can do better in places," he added.
“So I started the return project.”