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Formula 1 Miami GP

Hulkenberg: Seidl driving factor in my Audi F1 deal

Nico Hulkenberg says Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl was the “driving factor” in bringing him to the team for 2025, before it becomes Audi in the 2026 Formula 1 season.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team

Last week, Audi made its first move in F1’s turbulent driver market as it signed Hulkenberg to a multi-year contract that means he will leave the Haas squad at the end of the 2024 campaign.

The move, which had been in the works since midway through 2023 and involved discussions about Hulkenberg possibly joining Sauber for this season before he ended up continuing for a second year with Haas, reunites Hulkenberg with Seidl after they won the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours together for Porsche.

READ MORE: Where Hulkenberg's wrong-righting Audi F1 moves leaves the driver market

Seidl was then the team principal for the uber-successful Porsche LMP1 squad, which Hulkenberg joined for two rounds in 2015 a Spa and Le Mans, where he scored famous debut Le Mans triumph alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber.

When asked how important Seidl had been in getting him onboard with Sauber ahead of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, Hulkenberg replied: “Yeah [and] he's also the driving factor there.

“One of the deciders, one of the top key people in the management at Audi. So, of course, it came through him.

“And he's a very, you know, direct and straightforward guy with me.”

Hulkenberg then provided an example of his relationship with Seidl – a conversation from the 2020 F1 season when the German driver was out of full-time work having been dropped by Renault at the end of the previous year and Seidl was then the McLaren team boss.

Andreas Seidl, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber CEO

Andreas Seidl, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber CEO

Photo by: Sauber

“I remember 2020 when it was COVID before the season started, and I was not sure what I wanted to do,” Hulkenberg explained.

“But I remember phoning him up and seeing - he was at McLaren obviously at the time.

“I was like, 'Andy, how is it looking? Is there maybe a chance for me?' And he was like, straight, 'No, don't even get your hopes up. It's not going to happen.'

“And you know, this time around, years later, it was very different. He was very keen to sign and to have me.”

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At the Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday, Hulkenberg also recalled his previous season racing for Sauber in 2013, which was a “very different set of circumstances” many then viewed as a precursor to a Ferrari - who supplied engines to Sauber - move that never came.

“With the team everything was fine,” he added. “It was only with one person that it was difficult.

“And that was the team principal, Monisha [Kaltenborn] at the time, which was a bit difficult and tricky situation, but everything else was fine.

“Every team I worked with and raced for I never had problems with the team, with the mechanics, with the engineers, I've always enjoyed working with all the team members and working as a force, as a team pushing for performance.

“So obviously now that's quite different from back then.”

Additional reporting Mandy Curi and Ronald Vording

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