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Hulkenberg tells Force India he won't be back

Nico Hulkenberg has apparently taken the step that will confirm him as a Sauber driver for 2013...
Nico Hulkenberg is almost certain to be confirmed as a Sauber driver in the next few days, having apparently informed current employer Force India that he would not be returning in 2013.

The German, who was linked to possible rides at McLaren and Ferrari in the past few weeks, has produced perhaps the best performances of his F1 career in the Japanese and Korean grands prix and, following the departure of Sergio Perez for Woking next season, became a target for Peter Sauber's ambitious outfit, which is currently chasing Mercedes for fifth place overall in the 2012 constructors' championship.

Although Force India boss Vijay Mallya has made no secret of his desire to keep both Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta on board for a second season in 2013, the pair have gelled as a line-up - and performed well enough for both to be considered potential replacements for Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. The German's departure is thought likely to open the way for Ferrari Academy member, and current Force India reserve, Jules Bianchi to graduate to a full race seat alongside di Resta, whose other options now appear to have been closed off.

Hulkenberg's timing may have been a little suspect, picking Force India's 'other' home race - and one likely to witness some opposition to Mallya - to inform the team of his decision, but he remains confident that he can help bring in another strong result at the Buddh International Circuit, where predecessor Adrian Sutil finished in the points in 2011.

"The last two races were a lot of fun and probably two of my best races of the year," he claimed, "I feel comfortable and confident in the car and the team is doing a good job. We've just got a good rhythm and momentum, and that's so important in F1. I've still had some tough weekends, like Monza and Singapore, but. on the whole. things have been going well. We just need to make sure we can repeat what we did in Korea during the final four races. We really need to stretch ourselves to get everything we can from the remaining races."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Esteban Gutierrez (MEX, Lotus GP) celebrates his victory on the podium. Round 6. Valencia Street Circuit, Valencia, Spain. June 23 2012 (Photo: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Media Service.)
12.10.2012-  Free Practice 1, Jules Bianchi (FRA), Test Driver, Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05
24.06.2012- Race, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
07.06.2012- Peter Sauber (SUI), Sauber F1 Team, Team Principal
11.10.2012- Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
13.10.2012- Free Practice 3, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
13.10.2012- Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
13.10.2012- Free Practice 3, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
08.09.2012- Free Practice 3, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
Ferrari fans pay tribute to Luca di Montezemolo
21.09.2014 - Race, Celebration, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 is applauded by his team
21.09.2014 - Race, Pit stop, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
21.09.2014 - Race, Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03 leads Esteban Gutierrez (MEX), Sauber F1 Team C33
21.09.2014 - Race, Esteban Gutierrez (MEX), Sauber F1 Team C33, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
21.09.2014 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
21.09.2014 - Race, Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03 and Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9
21.09.2014 - Race, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9 leads Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
21.09.2014 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07

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LJ - Unregistered

October 24, 2012 10:51 AM

I like Hulkenberg and don't blame him for wanting to join Sauber who are a team on the up. But if this move triggers the departure of Kobayashi from the sport, I will be quite depressed. If you put him in the car next to Kobayashi it will take him 3-6 months to get the best out of the car. If they partner him with Esteban it may take even longer for both of them to score good points. If Kobayashi has to leave Sauber I would hope he would take Hulkenbergs seat at the very least. It would be interesting to see how each driver does in adapting to their new teams.

Taz

October 24, 2012 12:23 PM

@LJ Seems pretty nuts to me but Kobi might not be on the grid next year, FI probably need one driver to be a pay driver as Paul doesn't really have any bigger sponsorship backing him. Seems unbelievable that Kobi can't get backing in Japan. Look at Kris Meeke in rallying, a very talented driver that deserves a stab at WRC but has no chance without backing, then you had Wilson Jnr (affectionately known as happless on the WRC forum) trundling round for 8 years achieving nothing. Seen a friend of my brothers regularly beat 4WD evo's in a MK2 escort and finish in the top 5 on rounds of the Scottish rally championship but he struggles to get backing. Talent gets overlooked by money a lot, especially in these times.



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