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Hulkenberg was on stand-by for Red Bull

NEWS STORY
14/10/2020

While Racing Point was forced to call on Hulkenberg's services on Saturday after Lance Stroll complained of being unwell, the German had received a call from Red Bull just 24 hours earlier.

"We were already in talks with Hulkenberg on Friday," Marko told German broadcaster Sport1, "because Albon, like many others, had an inconclusive test result.

"It could have turned out to be positive," he added. "So right after landing I called Hulkenberg, because our suspected case was Albon.

"But thank god, it turned out that Albon was negative after all," he admitted.

Hulkenberg, who finished 8th in Sunday's race after qualifying 20th, had previously subbed for Sergio Perez at the British and 70th Anniversary races at Silverstone for Racing Point.

The German, who has been out of F1 since losing his seat to Daniel Ricciardo at the end of 2018, along with Perez, has yet to secure a drive for 2021. Marko admits that should Albon fail to close the gap to Max Verstappen one of the two could be recruited to partner the Dutchman, but that such a scenario is unlikely.

"We can call on the names that are available on the market," said the Austrian. "That is, Hulkenberg and this is Perez. The question is how far away they would be from Max?

"We have comparisons with Ricciardo and we can draw conclusions about where the drivers stand, but I don't think that anyone would get closer than three tenths.

"On good days, Albon is also able to create this proximity to Max," he continued. "He is young, but we are aware that if he can't stand the pressure, we can't afford to be standing on one leg when it comes to the world championship. That is the situation. It is actually impossible for a world championship if you only have one car in the action. But we are not there yet.

"The performance at the Nurburgring was satisfactory," he said of Albon's performance on Sunday. "That's just the situation."

Meanwhile, Racing Point's technical boss, Andrew Green revealed that some of the recent updates to the RP20 were the direct result of feedback from Hulkenberg's outings in the car at Silverstone.

"It's interesting, his feedback," said Green, according to Motorsport Week. "Some of the developments that we put on the car were as a direct result of his feedback in Silverstone.

"His feedback after the race was very intriguing," he continued. "He mentioned things that he liked changed in the car, how we go about setting the car up and the feel from the car, and we made those changes after Silverstone, not expecting him to ever get back in the car again and drive it. But lo and behold it does happen, and we get the feedback about the developments that we made on the car. So that was really interesting and really important.

"The sort of changes we're talking about, you can't adjust to them in four laps, which is what he had to do on Saturday afternoon," he said of Hulkenberg's qualifying performance. "He had four flying laps and for him to adjust to the changes we've made since Silverstone was going to by nigh on impossible. So he needed time with the car, which is what he didn't have.

"He knew he had to just make sure he got the 107 per cent lap in on the Saturday afternoon to give him that opportunity on the Sunday afternoon," he continued. "There was no point going out and binning it on his first timed lap on Saturday afternoon, then he would have been out. Another two more laps, he would've got out of Q1. Another four more laps, he might have got into Q3. But I think you have to give him a huge amount of credit for him to do the lap time he did in the amount of laps he had available to him.

"He did a great job, we knew he would, that's why he's always on the end of the phone for these sort of situations. We know him well, we know what he likes, what he doesn't like. So we were instantly setting the car up around how we knew he would like it. But still, he needs time at the track, which is what he was missing.

"But by the end of the race, he'd had plenty of time in the car and his feedback was invaluable, which was very good."

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1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 14/10/2020 19:09

"Let me see if I have this right.
Hulkenburg gives good enough feedback to improve car performance and contribute development to the car.
He, Hulkenburg, is fast enough to (with some retirements ahead) bring home points having had next to no time in the car prior to the race, certainly not on full tanks.
Yet, he doesn't have a seat in any team for this or next year.
Against this is the record of being the driver with the longest run without a podium finish in F1, yet during that time he co-wins Le Man.
Qualifying appears to be a weakness compared to his teammates such as Ricciardo at Renault yet he's a fast driver on Sunday.
So, a team looking for car development would maybe squeeze Hulkenberg into their team however, will they get the race results they need?
Regarding Red Bull and Albon, potentially we could see Perez or Hulkenberg with Red Bull for next year and Albon back at Alfa Tauri with Gasley.
If only there was room in F1 for the car developers such as those in the past such as Panis, Davidson and Wurz, and there was more on track testing, even Friday testing, for them to show what they can do.
Then again all this rambling and pondering could be for nothing if COVID 19 goes rampant again."

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