(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has grinned at rumors that Nico Hulkenberg could be a surprise contender to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull Racing.
The 35-year-old German has been impressive on his return to Formula 1 with Haas this year, and appears to be cruising towards a contract extension.
But former F1 driver Timo Glock said at Spa-Francorchamps: “For me, he is one of the top three qualifiers this year and he would be in the race as well if he had the chance.
“At the moment the car is not where it should be but Nico is definitely capable with his experience to gain a foothold with a top team,” he told Sky Deutschland.
However, Hulkenberg played down rumors linking him with a sensational switch to Red Bull.
“I think all the signs are pointing to the future here,” he said on Thursday.
“We work well together and there is good harmony between Gunther (Steiner), the whole team and me, even if it’s frustrating at times on Sundays.
“I want to be a part of that turnaround though. I think it’s all going to continue.”
It’s a very different message to the one coming out of his established teammate Kevin Magnussen, who has been outperformed by Hulkenberg this year.
Having also attended in Hungary, team owner Gene Haas is making another rare visit to the F1 paddock this weekend in Belgium, where contract talks could be held.
“We’ll see when it happens and how that pans out,” Magnussen said on Thursday.
“I think at the moment there’s no news to bring and I don’t really know what’s going on. I feel like the team is pretty happy but you never know with these things and I’ll take it one day at a time.”
As for Hulkenberg, who has also been linked with Audi for 2026, the door to Red Bull is closed for 2024 given that Mexican Perez is already under contract.
When asked about the rumors, Red Bull’s top official Dr Helmut Marko smiled to Kleine Zeitung newspaper: “Let’s put it this way.
“We’ll get him (Hulkenberg) for qualifying and then Perez will drive the race,” he joked.