Confirmation that Lewis Hamilton is committed to Mercedes for another three years has put the focus back on the driver market – and the lack of potential openings in the top teams.
The likes of Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg have been on the cusp of moving up a rung in recent years, but neither has managed to do so, and it could argue that time may run out for them as younger drivers with momentum behind them move into the frame over the next few years.
Hulkenberg is adamant that he has not given up hope of making the move.
“I think a lot about it is timing, and the driver market, how it was the last few years,” he said in Monaco today. “There’s a lot of good drivers around that have taken up the good seats, and there are only obviously a small number available. I very much like to think that there’s still an opportunity for me. The future will tell.
“Of course it’s a bit of a disappointment that I’m not there yet, where I want to be. I’d love to be in a car that’s capable of winning, and fighting for the title. Of course there’s a bit of disappointment there. If you live in that thought obviously that’s not going to help, you’ve got to keep working and move forward.”
The German admitted that it’s become harder to make an impression this year, given that Force India’s competitiveness has dropped off: “It’s more difficult obviously if you don’t have the potential or the tools to do these kinds of things. It hurts. I think people know that it’s not necessarily the driver who’s not delivering, and we know that. It’s just what it is sometimes, it’s F1.”