Formula 1: Nico Hulkenberg joins Aston Martin as backup and development driver for 2021

Hulkenberg finished seventh for Racing Point at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in August

Nico Hulkenberg has joined Aston Martin as their backup and development driver.

The German drove for the team three times last year, when he was known as Racing Point, when drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll contracted the Covid-19.

The 33-year-old was the driver of the clothing race from 2012 to 2016, when it was called Force India.

“The team knows they can count on me to jump in and do a great job,” he said.

“And I’m totally ready for that challenge.”

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel joined Stroll at Aston Martin in 2021, and Hulkenberg said he hopes both will “enjoy uninterrupted seasons this year”.

Hulkenberg’s role will include time spent on a simulator that helps develop the car.

Last year, Hulkenberg was recruited on two occasions for the final announcement – for Perez just before the first training session on Friday at Great Britain Award, and on Eiffel Grand Prix just in time for Saturday’s workout, when Stroll fell ill.

“It’s great to sign this contract with a lot of notice – last year I didn’t have that much time to prepare before I jumped in the car!” Hulkenberg said.

“I am really glad to work with this team once again – with whom I have ridden many times during my career.

“It will also be interesting to help develop the team through the season, and I’m really looking forward to getting great circles out of my sleeve.”

Team director Otmar Szafnauer said: “In these difficult times, the requirement for a capable and experienced reserve driver is particularly important.

“Nico proved last year that he can jump in the car and perform great in an instant; now, with the extra scope for preparation and integration, we know we can count on Nico to do a great job.”

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