Nico Hulkenberg will be Aston Martin’s reserve and development driver during the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Last year’s super-sub for the team, in its Racing Point identity, scored points in each of the two grands prix he started, after a mechanical problem ruled him out of the British Grand Prix.
His final appearance resulted in an eighth-place finish at the Nurburgring following a stirring drive from the back of the grid, having only arrived at the track in time for qualifying.
Hulkenberg had been in negotiations for a dual Aston Martin/Mercedes role in 2021 that had not been finalised in time for the season opener.
He has now been named Aston Martin’s official reserve and development driver and should be available to Mercedes on weekends when its own reserves – Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries – have Formula E commitments.
Hulkenberg’s new position means he will have a known reserve responsibility all season, rather than be called up at the last minute to replace either Sebastian Vettel or Lance Stroll, but will also be involved in the team’s work away from the track as well.
Team boss Otmar Szafnauer said that greater “scope for preparation and integration” made Hulkenberg an even stronger back-up option.
Hulkenberg said: “First of all, 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.
“I’m really pleased to once again work with this team, with whom I have driven many times during my career.
“Obviously, I’m hoping that Sebastian and Lance enjoy uninterrupted seasons this year, but the team knows it can rely on me to step in and do an excellent job, and I’m fully prepared to take on that challenge.
“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.”