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Formula 1: Nico Hulkenberg joins Aston Martin as reserve & development driver for 2021

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

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

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

“The team knows it can rely on me to step in and do an excellent job,” he said.

“And I’m fully prepared for that challenge.”

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel has joined Stroll at Aston Martin for 2021, and Hulkenberg said he hoped both would “enjoy uninterrupted seasons this year”.

Hulkenberg’s role will include time spent on the simulator helping to develop the car.

Last year, Hulkenberg was drafted in at extremely late notice on two occasions – for Perez just ahead of Friday first practice at the British Grand Prix, and at the Eifel Grand Prix only in time for Saturday practice, when Stroll became ill.

“It’s great to get this deal signed up with plenty of notice – last year, I didn’t have quite as much time to prepare before jumping in the car!” Hulkenberg said.

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“I’m really pleased to once again work with this team – with whom I have driven 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 pulling great lap times out of my arm sleeve.”

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

“Nico proved last year that he could jump in the car and perform superbly at a moment’s notice; now, with additional scope for preparation and integration, we know that we can rely on Nico to do an excellent job.”

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