Nico Hulkenberg is making a return to a permanent F1 seat in the upcoming 2023 season with Haas, driving alongside Kevin Magnussen. The German driver has recently spoken about how his time out in a reserve driver role has benefitted him.
Hulkenberg has been Aston Martin’s third driver for the last three seasons and said “it’s been very positive” for him. During an interview with Autosport, the newest addition to the Haas team explained:
“It’s been very positive for me. Obviously, I can only talk about my own case. But yeah, 2019 wasn’t always great. I felt I wanted that time away at that point.
“And then once you step away, you also develop a different understanding and new perspectives on how things went, what you’ve done.
“You reflect on many things, and process the whole thing. Even a winter break, you think three months is a lot – it’s actually not, because you’re still connected, you still do work. And the time properly away has I think helped me a lot.
The German driver continued:
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“I got married, I became a father. I mean, that all happened, that’s just life. I think that doesn’t influence me. I mean, it influences anyone in a way obviously, because it does something, but it was more the disconnection in the professional sense.”
“It was a very different role to what I used to do. If you’re not in the car, if you’re not in the hot seat, and you don’t have to perform day in, day out, it’s a very different feeling.
“You’re much more relaxed, because you just cut out the bad days that you get in the car.
“So from that point of view that’s been relaxed, but at the same time you miss what you get from racing, the excitement, the thrill, the kick. And that’s also that feeling that prevailed, that I want to go back, and I want to do this for some more time.”
Hulkenberg went on to reflect on seeing some missed opportunities and that “hindsight is a beautiful thing”. He added:
“The benefit of hindsight is a beautiful thing. Of course, I would have done a few things differently. But no point in dwelling on the past. Learn from it, try to correct it in the future, and do the right thing.
“What I said earlier about this time away, when you reflect on things, when you see things from a different angle, there are certainly some things that I will change how I will do them in the future. But there are very personal things that I don’t want to go into detail.
“And frankly, there were a few missed opportunities to set the highlights that were necessary to do the final step to a top team, that’s a fact. But I guess Haas want me for a reason – and they believe I’ve still got it and that I’m quality material.”