|Hulkenberg could drive the IndyCar road courses and Ed Carpenter the ovals but the team denies that|
(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg's Formula 1 career is "over".
That is the view of outspoken 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, even though the Renault refugee is refusing to say he will not return after 2020.
"He's been here for a long time," Villeneuve told Canal Plus.
"He has the record for the most races without a podium, so he knows he's had a career that is probably longer than it should have been.
"But he's been lucky because, regardless of the cars he has had, he has always been a professional driver who is paid. He knows very well that his career in Formula 1 is over now," the Canadian added.
However, Esteban Ocon lost his F1 race seat at the end of last year but next season is replacing Hulkenberg at Renault after spending a season as Mercedes' reserve.
But Villeneuve said the same strategy would not work for Hulkenberg.
"There will be no return," he insisted. "It's not like Ocon, who is young and still has everything to prove.
"This (Hulkenberg) is a driver who has already had time to show everything. Unless there is a driver who gets sick and needs to be quickly replaced by an experienced guy, the teams are not going to be looking at him."
One of Hulkenberg's last options to stay in F1 next year was Alfa Romeo, which is run by Frederic Vasseur, who knows the German well from his junior days.
But Villeneuve said: "It wasn't an option. He (Vasseur) had to take a Ferrari driver.
"But even if it was an option, it's better to take a risk on a guy you have doubts about than to go with someone who didn't show too much in ten years."