Hülkenberg almost chose Haas F1 during “parallel discussions” with Audi but “ultimately decided to turn left instead of right”

Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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It was announced at the end of April that Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg is leaving Haas for Sauber at the end of the year. Even though a German driver racing for a German manufacturer is an advertiser’s dream, the 36-year-old revealed in Miami that it was not a quick decision to make as he did weigh up the option of remaining with the American-owned F1 racing outift.

Audi know what they have signed as Hülkenberg will bring to the team experience from more than 200 races in F1 since 2010. However, in all this time, he has failed to make it to the podium – a feat he will surely look to achieve with his latest team move.

In his statement released at the time, Hülkenberg said, “The prospect of competing for Audi is something very special. When a German manufacturer enters Formula 1 with such determination, it is a unique opportunity. To represent the factory team of such a car brand with a power unit made in Germany is a great honor for me.”

Most recently, Hülkenberg was asked in Miami as to whether Haas could have done anything to retain his services or whether it is an unfair comparison due to the gulf between the teams.

“For sure, I was thinking about that too, and I was speaking to Ayo [Komatsu] weeks and weeks ago, and telling him, look, there’s quite a lot of movement on the driver market. But one scenario is also I could imagine to stay, so there was also a coaxial parallel for sure.”

Hülkenberg was asked later on to expand on his comments of Haas and Audi being very different teams and how Haas can compete with what Audi can offer. More than this though, does Haas need to expand to be able to be more attractive in the future when big manufacturers come forward?

“That’s why it’s a different pair of shoes, but for me, having been here now a year and this one quarter of a season, I feel very happy here,” explained Hülkenberg before paying tribute to his current team. “They were also the team that gave me the chance of a comeback, that obviously also carries some importance and appreciation from my side towards the team.

“Like in Force India days here as well, you’re the small team, the underdog team, but it’s quite cool to set those highlights, to have good results. It’s a different feeling compared to big works teams like Renault. Here, they celebrate those little moments much more and it’s a nice, cool environment.

“A happy, good environment. We’re also always pushing for more, but it’s a bit different. But that’s why, you know, it was parallel discussions, but then ultimately we decided to forget it, to turn left instead of right.” Hülkenberg concluded.

Having turned left, it will not be all unknown for Hülkenberg when he moves to Sauber seeing how he will be reunited with Andreas Seidl. The man who currently plies his craft as Sauber’s Chief Executive was previously Team Principal at Porsche during the time that Hülkenberg won the famous Le Mans 24-hour race back in 2015. The two will no doubt be hoping for success once again and Hülkenberg certainly feels that he has better chance with a new blank page of a race team than what Haas F1 Team can provide at present.