Vita Nico Hülkenberg
He is considered one of the best current German racing drivers and provided for major sensation with his Le Mans triumph in 2015. In his third season with the Renault factory team, Nico Hülkenberg is reaching out for his first Grand Prix victory in Formula 1 and for his major goal: to win the drivers’ world championship. DEKRA has been a loyal partner of the German – who was born in Emmerich am Rhein in 1987 – from the beginnings of his career to the end of the 2018 season.
Nico and his new team colleague Daniel Ricciardo are being treated as one of the strongest F1 driver pairings in the 2019 season and the mission is clear: to build on the performance of the last few years with the Renault Sport F1 Team and to further reduce the gap to the top teams.
Nico started again for the Renault Sport F1 Team in the premier class of motorsports, Formula 1. The vehicle at his disposal was the R.S. 18. Additionally, in Carlos Sainz, he had a fast team colleague at his side. In 2018, Nico achieved seventh place in the drivers’ standings, the best position of his career so far in F1. The Renault Sport F1 Team also achieved the target it had set itself and ended in fourth place in the constructors’ world championship with 122 points, directly behind the factory teams of Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull.
In 2017 Nico took on a new challenge when he joined the Renault Sport F1 Team that had returned to Formula 1 the year before. He quickly established himself to be the lead driver and managed to score the team's first points of the 2017 campaign in only the third race at Bahrain, finishing ninth. In his yellow Renault R.S. 17 Nico once again lived up to his reputation of being a superb qualifier when he took the start from inside the top 10 in twelve out of 20 Grands Prix. He classified sixth in Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium and Abu Dhabi and nearly scored all of his teams' points on his own to secure sixth position in the 2017 Constructors' Championship. Nico personally achieved 43 World Championship points and tenth place in the Drivers' Championship for the third time in his career.
In his final year for Sahara Force India Nico once again delivered a very consistent performance. He finished inside the top 10 in 14 out of 21 races. This way he contributed massively to his team achieving fourth in the 2016 Constructors Championship. Among Nico's season highlights were sixth places at Monte Carlo and fourth at Spa-Francorchamps in his Mercedes-powered VJM09. In total, Nico scored 72 points which earned him ninth in the overall World Championship standings.
The beginning of the 2015 season proved to be a challenging one for Nico. Although he managed to finish seventh in the opening Australian Grand Prix he failed to add more points to his tally in the next five races. However, Nico found his way back into the top 10 and achieved eight point positions within the following twelve races for Force India. The highlights of his 2016 Formula 1 campaign were sixth places in Austria, Japan and Brazil in his VJM08 Mercedes. This made for a total of 58 points and P10 in the Drivers' World Championship. But Nico had even more success in sports car racing as he also took to the track for Porsche at selected rounds of the 2015 World Endurance Championship (WEC) in its top class LMP1. Together with his teammates Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy Nico was the sensation of the day at the Le Mans 24 hours on his first participation in the event as the three of them won after 395 laps at the infamous Circuit de la Sarthe. For this milestone achievement Nico was voted "ADAC motor sports person of the year" in 2015.
Nico returned to Sahara Force India with a new three-year contract from 2014. His team change turned out to be the right decision as Nico scored World Championship points in the first ten races of the season. After fifth places in Bahrain, Monaco and Canada he temporarily even held third in the overall standings in his Mercedes-powered VJM07. Only four times in 19 races Nico did not manage to finish in the top 10 and his consistent performance saw him gain a total of 96 points and ninth in the 2014 Drivers' World Championship.
For the 2013 Formula 1 season Nico decided to go for a new challenge: he switched teams and joined the Swiss-based Sauber F1 Team. However, due to a technical failure he was not able to finish his first race for the team at the opening Australian Grand Prix. A few days later, though, Nico brought his C32 Ferrari home in eighth in Malaysia to score his first points for Sauber. All in all, Nico achieved ten point positions in 19 races and finished fourth in Korea as his personal best in 2013. His speed paid off in the overall standings, too, as for the first time in his career Nico earned himself a top 10 spot in the World Championship classifications with tenth. Nevertheless, at the end of the season Nico and the team parted ways again.
TThe 2011 Formula 1 season saw Nico taking on the role of a test driver at Sahara Force India. He inked a multi-year contract with the team and worked through a lot of testing. 2012 he made his comeback as a regular Grand Prix driver and earned a lot of respect from the get-go: With ninth in only his second race for Force India Nico already scored points in his VJM05 Mercedes. The highlight of his 2012 campaign came at the Belgium Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps where Nico brilliantly brought his car home in fourth place. In Singapur he drove the fastest lap of the race for the first time in Formula 1 and several lead laps in Brazil were another first for the young German. He finished the season in eleventh in the Drivers' World Championship with 63 points from 20 races to his name.
After having tested for the team for two years, Nico was promoted to a race seat at AT&T Williams F1 for the 2010 Formula 1 season. In what was only his third Grand Prix Nico finished tenth and scored his first World Championship point. He would follow up on this performance with another 21 points over the course of the season in his FW32 Cosworth. His personal best came in Hungary with sixth place. However, Nico caused a huge stir in the Formula 1 paddock when he shined during qualifying for the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix in tricky weather conditions. On the drying track Nico beat his opposition by over one second and earned his first-ever Pole Position. He finished the year in 14th in the overall standings.
Career before Formula 1
Nico picked the classic career path for his first steps in motor racing when he earned his stripes in karting from 1997. With only 15 years of age he won the title in the German Karting Junior Championship (DKJM) in 2002 and achieved overall glory in the German Karting Championship (DKM) the year after that.
In 2005 Nico successfully stepped up to single-seater racing and instantly carried off first place in the German Formula BMW championship with eight wins from 20 races. In doing so, he followed Sebastian Vettel's footsteps who had claimed the title in 2004. Right from the start Nico proved to be highly competitive in Formula 3, too. He put his car on Pole Position on his debut in the German Formula 3 Cup in 2006 and managed to win in only his fourth race in the series. He finished the year in fifth place overall.
It was in the 2006/2007 A1GP season that Nico caused a huge sensation in the 500 bhp single-spec series when he won a race on his debut weekend in the championship for Team Germany. He even went on to score six victories in a row in the hard-fought series to claim the Drivers' title in dominant fashion.
The 2007 season saw Nico compete in the Formula 3 Euro Series for the first time and he finished the year in third with four wins and Rookie of the Year honors. The year after that he was the dominant force in the championship, winning seven out of 20 races to take the title. Formula 1 team AT&T Williams acknowledged Nico's recent performance with signing him as its official test driver.
Simultaneous to his testing commitments for AT&T Williams Nico raced in GP2 in 2009. Once again, he perfectly coped with making the switch to another, more powerful machine. In Formula 1's top feeder series Nico achieved his first podium result at Monaco, only to win both races on his home turf at the Nürburgring afterwards. He followed up on this performance with three more wins and claimed the championship title in his first year in the series, which effectively earned him a seat in Formula 1 for 2010.