Hülkenberg: No thought of Mercedes switch
10 January 2017 – Nico Hülkenberg says he never thought about the possibility of switching to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg's retirement, as he was already "in love" with new team Renault.
Rosberg shocked the Formula 1 community when he announced his retirement just days after clinching the title, opening up a space alongside Lewis Hamilton for the 2017 season.
Mercedes chief Niki Lauda stated that "90 per cent" of the grid expressed interest in the seat, but Hülkenberg has since made clear that his loyalty was already firmly with Renault.
Hülkenberg was announced by the French manufacturer back in October.
"Given the situation as it was, there was no thought of a switch in any way or form as I was already in love with my new 'girlfriend' Renault," he laughed, in an interview with the F1 website.
Addressing fellow German Rosberg's surprise announcement, Hülkenberg added: "It is a pity that Nico will not be back to defend his title, but I am also sure he knew what he was doing
"For me it will mean no more lifts to Grands Prix in his plane: that really sucks…"
Hülkenberg reiterated that he is not expecting miracles from Renault in 2017.
"We at Renault are working hard to catch up so we can put ourselves in a position where we can score some points," he added of Renault's second season since it returned as a works team.
"Of course people are excited about my move to Renault – so am I.
"I am very excited and super motivated, but at the same time we have to be careful not to expect too much right away: we have to work hard – harder and better to catch the train back up.
"Give us some time and celebrate with us if we are faster than anticipated."