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Nico Hulkenberg to join Kick Sauber for the 2025 season: Will this be a redemption story for the German?

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30th April, 2024

Following an announcement from the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team that Nico Hulkenberg will be departing at the end of the 2024 season, I scrambled to the internet to see any connection the German driver may have with Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff.

My immediate assumption was that following Hulkenberg’s impressive qualifying results, Wolff would find him a great fit to fill Lewis Hamilton’s old Mercedes seat while the team waited for their Italian wonderkid, Kimi Antonelli.

About ten minutes after Haas reported his departure, Kick Sauber, which will be German manufacturer Audi as of 2026, reported that Nico Hulkenberg will drive for them from 2025.

The prospect of a German team entering was “something very special. When a German manufacturer enters Formula 1 with such determination, it’s a unique opportunity,” according to Hulkenberg.

So who goes from the current Sauber lineup? Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu or Finnish (and sometimes Australian) driver Valtteri Bottas?

I hate to say it, but I think both drivers will be kicked (no pun intended) especially considering the reported offers for Carlos Sainz that Audi is making, and I struggle to see Guanyu getting another seat amongst the current talent on the grid.

Valtteri Bottas is currently 34, which means there is certainly time for more successful seasons, but it’s very unlikely he will join a ‘project’ team like Haas or his debut team Williams.


Call me crazy, but Mercedes seem to be the most reasonable candidate if Bottas were to want a year or two more before his retirement.

For the same reasons I assumed Hulkenberg was going, Bottas would act as a perfect seat warmer for Antonelli.

His previous stint at the team was very successful, being the perfect ‘second driver’ for Sky Sports’ celebrity crush Lewis Hamilton, and his relationship with Wolff seems to still be intact.

I had a conversation not too long ago about the German influence on Formula 1, and how it feels wrong to not even have a race in Germany for the past five years.

Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, and Nico Rosberg are some of the biggest names in Formula 1 but they don’t seem to get the same attention Brits like Lewis Hamilton, Damon Hill and Jackie Stewart do.

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So, Nico Hulkenberg’s move to a German team will hopefully bring back some of the German flare Formula 1 had just seven years ago and will lead to a perfect setup for Mercedes and their blind hope for their next world champion, Kimi Antonelli.