Nico Hulkenberg has insisted that he is happy despite not being in contention for the Mercedes seat. Hulkenberg may well have been one of the prime candidates to replace Nico Rosberg after his shock retirement, however as he is signed for Renault for 2017, he will not be taking a place at the Brackely based team.
"Mercedes is the long-time engine partner of Force India and we did joint promotional activities for Hockenheim in the summer," he said. "Rosberg could have quietly told me that he would quit if he won the title," Hulkenberg laughed.
The 29 year old insists that he is happy with his decision to be moving from Force India to Renault. "My goal was to drive for a manufacturer. That's what I've achieved with Renault," said Hulkenberg. "We both have unfulfilled goals."
Hulkenberg has been linked with top teams throughout his career but has never signed a contract. He feels a driver in midfield or back marker team do not get enough media focus. "If you don't drive for Ferrari or Mercedes, there is no coverage and the driver performance is not as linked with the car performance," he said. "Nevertheless, I feel a lot of respect for my performance, especially internationally."
He is also being well rewarded by Renault for the next period, with a new contract reportedly worth $20 million. "You said the number, not me," Hulkenberg insisted. "But in financial matters, I am typically German, watching every penny and only spending what I won't regret later. I'd rather take my risks on the track."
"With (German TV presenter) Kai Ebel it's a running gag," he laughed. "He always says 'Down to earth but living in Monaco!' No, I'm fairly typically German: disciplined, punctual, ordered, reliable. Like many millions of Germans, but with an exotic job."