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Hulkenberg rules out Le Mans return

NEWS STORY
21/02/2017

Readers of a certain age will remember those heady days when their F1 heroes could be seen in action almost every weekend.

Though the world championship calendar often consisted of just a dozen rounds, the drivers were free to contest other series, be it Sports Cars, Can-Am, F2 even Touring Cars.

It isn't so much the expanded calendar that prevents drivers continuing the practice in the present era, rather the fact that their employers - the teams and sponsors - don't want them risking life and limb in other series and thereby compromising their F1 commitments.

In 2015 however, Nico Hulkenberg not only decided he wanted to contest the Le Mans 24 Hour race, he went and won it - first time out - thereby planting a seed in the minds of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, to name just two.

A clash with the inaugural Grand Prix in Baku (Azerbaijan) put paid to any such thoughts last year, but this year, following the rescheduling of the Baku event, Le Mans could be back on the agenda... but not for Renault new boy Hulkenberg.

Asked if he had considered returning this year, his answer was a firm "No!" However, he was keen to dismiss the idea that the extra-curricular activity which has ruled Pascal Wehrlein out of the opening test had any influence on his decision.

"It's got nothing to do with Pascal, or what happened to him," he said, "I simply didn't quite have the appetite this year to do it.

"When you are committed to a manufacturer, you're committed," he continued, "with Force India there was no manufacturer involved so it was easier anyway from the start.

"I think it's good the way it is now," he concluded. "I've been there, done it, was very fortunate to win it and lucky. So let's leave it the way it is and I can return, perhaps, in the future."

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