Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg feels F1 fans who believe he is responsible for cutting Mick Schumacher’s career short are being primitive in their assessment.
Hulkenberg has been a big part of the positive atmosphere at Haas, having replaced Mick and at times even set the pace for Kevin Magnussen since joining the team this year.
His performances are likely to earn him a contract extension, according to his team principal Guenther Steiner.
“I think they’re quite happy,” Hulkenberg said when he was asked about a potential contract on the table.
He was then asked how he feels about all but eliminating Mick’s chances of returning to the grid, especially after he has proved that the car was not as inefficient as Michael Schumacher’s son had some people believe.
“That’s not on my radar,” he said.
“I deal with my situation and how we can improve. I’m not trying to bury anyone – I’m just doing my job and having fun.
“And it’s always clear that this is a very tough and performance-related business. It was no different for me.
“If you don’t perform, you’ll be gone sooner or later.”
Can The Hulk race for Audi?
Hulkenberg has seen a sharp resurgence in his stock value as an F1 driver and with Audi’s entry on the horizon, there has been speculation over whether he will be tasked with leading the team in its initial days.
Given that he would be 38 by the time the German manufacturer enters, Hulkenberg believes it is not the right approach to look so far ahead when you’re reaching the end of your career.
“At the moment I’m just living in the present,” he said.
“That’s what suits me very well. In 2026, I’m 38 and I’m not looking that far into the future at the moment.”
One can point to the tremendous skill still being displayed by Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso. Can Hulkenberg also stretch his career into his 40s? The German driver is not so sure.
“That may be the case in theory, but is it the same for me? Every person is different,” he said.
“As you get older, your mind and your reflexes slow down. Things still seem to be going well for Alonso but I can’t predict when that will start for me.
“Everything is working fine at the moment. And as long as that’s the case and I’m having fun, I’ll try to keep going.”