As he prepares for 2017, Nico Hulkenberg insists he is content.
That is despite the fact that, had he still been on the driver market for 2017, he might now be the sure favourite to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.
The German smiled: “Mercedes is the long-time engine partner of Force India and we did joint promotional activities for Hockenheim in the summer.
“Rosberg could have quietly told me that he would quit if he won the title,” Hulkenberg told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
The 29-year-old, of course, was only joking, insisting he is happy to be switching from Force India to the Renault works team for 2017.
“My goal was to drive for a manufacturer. That’s what I’ve achieved with Renault,” said Hulkenberg. “We both have unfulfilled goals.”
Indeed, Hulkenberg is quietly known as one of the best drivers in F1, but with a much lower level of media coverage than countrymen Rosberg or Sebastian Vettel.
“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.”
In that way, Hulkenberg insists he is “down to earth”.
“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.”