Although he’s been ruled out at the moment for next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans due to a date clash with the European Grand Prix at Baku, Azerbaijan, Nico Hulkenberg is still optimistic he can have future races with Porsche Team’s LMP1 program.
The German was effectively ruled out of a repeat attempt with co-drivers Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber when the revised provisional calendar for the 2016 Formula 1 season was issued late last month.
However, Hulkenberg told reporters at Circuit of The Americas, site of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix where he’s competing in his usual Force India-Mercedes, that the door remains open for future appearances.
“There’s still definitely a big interest on both sides to get together when it’s possible again, no doubt,” Hulkenberg said.
Hulkenberg played down the comments that made headlines in the last two weeks, when FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu told Italian publication Autosprint that the date clash was a “clear attack on us.”
“With 21 (F1) races, you have to accommodate them somewhere,” Hulkenberg said. “There’s only so many options.
“I’ve never done a calendar, but with different events and different interests, you need to find a date.”
As the revised provisional calendar by the FIA was labeled as such, Hulkenberg said he still hopes for one minor tweak to the calendar to avoid the clash.
In the event it doesn’t change, Porsche will have to make alternative plans for the third driver of its third car at Le Mans.
Juan Pablo Montoya was confirmed earlier this week to test the team’s Porsche 919 Hybrid at Bahrain on November 22, although no race outings have been determined yet for the Colombian IndyCar ace.