Stewart: Hulkenberg future not in doubt

Nico Hulkenberg will have no problems in securing his Formula 1 future after his maiden pole position, reckons Jackie Stewart, who thinks that the biggest danger now is actually that Williams ends up losing him

Stewart: Hulkenberg future not in doubt

Williams is stalling on signing Hulkenberg to a fresh contract for 2011 as it weighs up the benefits of taking pay-driver Pastor Maldonado for next year in a bid to boost its budget.

The final decision on that front will be taken after Maldonado tests for Williams in the post-season Abu Dhabi young driver test.

But Stewart, who is an ambassador for Williams' current sponsor RBS so knows the outfit and Hulkenberg well, reckons it is not the young German who faces the biggest issues in the next few weeks.

When asked by AUTOSPORT about the Hulkenberg driver situation, Stewart said: "I would be very surprised if he is not taken. The biggest chance he has now is of being grabbed by a more affluent team, not the risk of not having a drive.

"He is never going to be without a job. I think even already this year he has proved himself. He has made some mistakes but that is the same as any young puppy does. Puppies, you try to train them and you think you have got them trained and then they pee on the floor again. It is a process of doing that.

"My view of it is that we have got somebody who here in Brazil has demonstrated that he has got all the skills capable of doing the job."

Williams is already understood to have agreed terms with Rubens Barrichello for next year, but wants to wait until it has finalised its second driver before announcing its line-up for 2011.

Patrick Head, the team co-owner, said that there would be no change to its current planned decision timeframe because of Hulkenberg's form.

"As I have said very much before, we are not making any statement about that until after the season, and if we have nasty things to tell people I will let Adam Parr do it," he said.

The speed of Hulkenberg has even fuelled speculation that it is Barrichello who could lose his seat - but the Brazilian made it clear in Brazil he was not worried about the situation.

"You need to ask Frank [Williams] about drivers," said Barrichello. "I don't know what the situation is with the team, but even here we have talked about next year's car so there is no reason to think that I am out.

"All I can say to you is that I hope Nico stays, as he is a good guy and really, really good."

shares
comments
Button unharmed in armed incident
Previous article

Button unharmed in armed incident

Next article

Q & A with Christian Horner

Q & A with Christian Horner
Load comments
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021