Nico Hulkenberg insists that there will no favours for 2013 employer Sauber when it comes to the battle over sixth place in the F1 constructors' standings, as current team Force India
continues to covet the Swiss team's place.
Some 23 points still separate the two squads after Hulkenberg added to his tally in India last weekend, and the German maintains that his loyalties remain with Vijay Mallya's operation for the remaining three rounds of 2012, even if it means upsetting those at Hinwil. Sauber confirmed the expected signing of Hulkenberg in the short break between Indian and Abu Dhabi rounds, filling one of its seats for 2013, while speculation remains over the future of Kamui Kobayashi
and the possible promotion of reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez.
"I have no qualms about that," Hulkenberg admitted when it was pointed out that Force India
beating Sauber could cost the Swiss team millions of dollars in prize money, "I am fully committed to Force India. We have three more races to go and, while I look forward to the new challenge, the new contract, I also look forward to doing the last few races here [at Force India]. I am fully motivated and will give everything."Reuters
quotes Force India
deputy team principal Bob Fernley as claiming that the difference between sixth and seventh places in the constructors' standings was roughly $5m.
"I know how we felt when we lost it to Williams
by one point [in 2010]," he noted, "I genuinely have 110 per cent confidence in Nico, in his integrity and his desire to support the team through to the end of his contract. It doesn't even cross my mind that there would be any of that going on. I just think the guy is so straight."
Hulkenberg had previously been linked to both Ferrari
and McLaren, and admits that there were preliminary talks about him replacing Felipe Massa
at Maranello, but insists that there is no connection between that possibility and his move to Ferrari-engined Sauber.