Nico Hulkenberg says he is under no illusions about his chances of returning to the grid in F1 next season, saying that if he does not find a seat for 2022, he'll likely close the curtain on his F1 career.
The former Renault driver who took part in two races last year with Racing Point as the team's go-to substitute for Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll and who remains Aston martin's reserve driver for this season, is holding on to the small hope that he will rejoin the fray next season but admitted that his chances are thin.
Only Alfa Romeo and Williams are expected to have seats available for 2022, and while the Grove-based outfit could represent a viable opportunity for the Hulk, the British outfit's list of prospects is as long the German driver's arm.
"I think I know how it will go," Hulkenberg told Bild. "Everyone can calculate that for themselves and I have no illusions.
"The doors of the top teams are closed for me. I have to be that realistic. If it doesn’t happen now, the Formula 1 chapter will be closed for me."
With 179 Grand Prix starts under his belt, Hulkenberg holds the unenviable record of competing in the most races in F1 without ever stepping onto the podium.
But regardless of how his future will pan out, Hulkenberg harbors no regrets over his time spent at the pinnacle of motorsport.
"I see it as a new opportunity," he said. "I’ve had enough time now to think about everything.
"Of course, I made a few mistakes, maybe my career would have turned out differently. But I don’t regret anything."