Aston Martin has recently confirmed Stoffel Vandoorne will join the team as reserve and test driver, working alongside newly recruited Felipe Drugovich.
The arrival of the Belgian driver means that Nico Hulkenberg is no longer working with Aston Martin as a reserve driver for next season, which has sparked speculation about this next move.
Aston Martin’s Mike Krack explained the decision to acquire Vandoorne’s services:
“Stoffel has all the capabilities we need for this new and expanded role within the team.
“He is fast, analytical, hard-working and a fantastic team player, and will fit perfectly into our growing organisation, working alongside our other test driver, Felipe Deugovich.
“The whole team is hugely motivated for next year, and the appointment of Stoffel, alongside Fernando, Lance and Felipe, gives us extra depth to our fantastic driver line-up.
“This will be a significant role for Stoffel, and we will be reliant on him to work hard with both our track and simulation and engineering teams to improve our performance.”
Whilst Mike Krack clearly thinks highly of Vandoorne, there is no mention of the reason for Nico Hulkenberg’s arrival.
It is evidently speculative to infer anything from this announcement, but it seems plausible that Aston Martin has been pushed to replace Hulkenberg because he has secured an F1 seat with Haas.