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Hulkenberg, di Resta set for Force India confirmation

Paul di Resta may not be the only change at Force India this season, with Nico Hulkenberg also set to be confirmed on the driving strength
Nico Hulkenberg's confidence in finding another F1 ride to replace the one he was ousted from at Williams at the end of the 2010 season looks set to be rewarded with a spot at Force India - although the German may be denied a shot at forming an all-German partnership with Adrian Sutil.

With new DTM champion - and Mercedes favourite - Paul di Resta reportedly edging closer to an F1 debut with the Silverstone-based team, Hulkenberg may have to settle for the reserve driver position for 2011, with Sutil remaining as team leader for another season after seeing his ambition of joining either Renault or Mercedes thwarted by Vitaly Petrov and Michael Schumacher, respectively, staying put for the coming campaign.

Force India has yet to confirm its 2011 line-up, and still has the thorny problem of the year that remains on Tonio Liuzzi's deal to address - but Swiss magazine Blick believes that an announcement confirming both di Resta and Hulkenberg is imminent. The German, who claimed pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix but could not prevent himself being replaced by the better-funded Pastor Maldonado next season, is expected to carry out development duties during one of the Friday morning practice sessions at most grands prix, as di Resta did in 2010. That could provide the opportunity to prove himself for 2012, particularly with Sutil said to have irked team boss Vijay Mallya by holding out for alternative rides next season.

Niki Lauda, meanwhile, has suggested that, contrary to the beliefs of fellow world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, di Resta is not the man for the job, insisting that Mallya should pair Sutil and Hulkenberg together.

"On sporting criteria alone, Force India should have Sutil and Hulkenberg in 2011," the Austrian told Blick, ignoring the candidature of other hopefuls including Giedo van der Garde, Narain Karthikeyan, Karun Chandhok and Nick Heidfeld.

Ironically, Force India was not the first choice of Hulkenberg's manager, Willi Weber, who admits that he had loftier ambitions for his young charge.

“I actually wanted Nico to be the third driver at McLaren,” he revealed, “but Martin Whitmarsh was worried that it would be seen as a threat to [Jenson] Button, so he didn't want to disrupt the harmony in the team for their championship hunt.”

The driver, however, has already admitted that Force India is his best bet for the future.

"That's no big secret," he told the official F1 website last month, "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."

di Resta, meanwhile, appears a shoo-in for the second race seat after a strong 2010 campaign in which he combined testing for Force India with taking the DTM title for Mercedes. The Scot has the backing of Stewart, who sees the former F3 Euroseries champion - overcoming current F1 champion Sebastian Vettel in equal machinery, it should not be forgotten - as the natural successor to the likes of himself, Jim Clark and David Coulthard in Scotland's F1 lineage.

"I don't see any reason why Paul shouldn't be on the grid next year," the three-time world champion told the Scotsman newspaper recently, "He's impressed everyone with what he's achieved during his Friday test sessions with Force India this year, and he's fast, but he's also very clever, astute and, from what I've heard, very good with his technical feedback. I definitely think he'd help strengthen the grid even more."

Related Pictures

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Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team
Friday Practice 2, Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA), Force India F1 Team, VJM03

Paul di Resta (GBR), Test Driver, Force India F1 Team

Paul di Resta (GBR), Test Driver, Force India F1 Team
Saturday Practice, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32
Friday Practice 1, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32
Thursday, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Williams, FW32
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
16.07.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10

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skwdenyer - Unregistered

January 03, 2011 5:17 PM

@richard: Whitmarsh said he didn't want it to be seen as a threat, not that it would be a threat. Jenson doesn't need to hear that he's under pressure. @Rob01: on this site, Button said and implied that if HE were subjected to team orders then he would walk away - that isn't the same as walking away because of team orders in other teams. @Boss B: Jenson has just finished year 1 of a 3-year deal - he is not on a year-by-year deal.


January 03, 2011 4:48 PM
Last Edited 718 days ago

jose. i am sure that if there was an indian driver better than di resta or hulk, then the finance would be found to run him. unfortunately neither narain or karun have shown themselves to be anything other than mediocre. f1 ia NOT about nationalities, is is (or should be) about the best for the job

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