Nico Hulkenberg says he has no Plan B in place for the 2011 season if he fails to secure a place on the F1 grid, having admitted that Force India provide the best chance for him to find a race seat.
The German, who took his maiden F1 pole position at Interlagos, lost his drive with Williams at the end of the season and will be replaced by GP2 title winner Pastor Maldonado – leaving him with limited options if he is to extend his time on the grid into a second season.
With Renault looking likely to re-sign Vitaly Petrov, Hulkenberg's best opportunity of a competitive drive would seem to be with Force India, with the Silverstone-based team having not yet confirmed either of its drivers.
“I hope, and we are working very hard, to get a deal done but it is no secret that there are not many good race seats left,” Hulkenberg told the official F1 website. “The hope is still there and I am not giving up. I hope I can give you a positive answer very soon. Hopefully before Christmas.
“Force India is our best shot, but it is also no secret that quite a few drivers are trying to land a seat there. We are talking to them and let's wait and see what develops. I don't want to think about a Plan B. My focus is 100 per cent on finding a good race seat for 2011. That is where all my efforts are going right now.”
Admitting that he only found out on the weekend of the Abu Dhabi race that he would be leaving Williams, Hulkenberg said his current situation showed how difficult it is for drivers trying to find a drive given the need for teams to find people who can bring budget.
“It has become much harder to find funding - sponsors are either dropping out or cutting their budget,” he said of the situation that appeared to develop at Williams. “Unfortunately the team has not done too well over the last couple of years and we all know that Formula One is a tough business environment where your performance permanently judges you. And if you cannot produce that performance you eventually have to look for other ways to close the budget gap.
“It has become much, much harder to open doors if your application does not come with a serious sponsor package and you really only rely on your talent as the sole 'sales argument'. This is quite frustrating and somewhat sad - especially if you can show you have had a good season as a reference.”