Aston Martin F1 has officially confirmed Nico Hulkenberg as its reserve and development driver for the 2021 season.
Hulkenberg, who last raced full time in F1 in 2019 with Renault, is well acquainted with the Silverstone-based team, having raced for four seasons with the outfit under its Force India guise.
But the Hulk also deputized last year for Sergio Perez - twice - at Silverstone and once for Lance Stroll at the Nürburgring when the Racing Point pair were sidelined by COVID-19.
"We’re delighted to be able to welcome Nico back to the team in an official capacity, as reserve and development driver for Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team," said team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
"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."
A veteran of 179 Grand Prix starts, the 33-year-old German holds the unenviable record of starting the most races in F1 without achieving a podium finish.
So Hulkenberg will take any good chance he can get to try and finally snatch a top-three finish although he isn't wishing any hardship on his Aston colleagues.
"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."