Nico Hulkenberg will return to Force India
for the 2014 F1 season, it has been officially announced.
The German, who was with the Silverstone-based outfit in 2011 and 2012, before moving to Sauber, has agreed a 'multi-year deal'.
Hulkenberg had been linked to Lotus as well, on the back of some impressive performances this season – including six points finishes in the last eight races, but Pastor Maldonado
got the nod last week to partner Romain Grosjean
and replace the Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen, mainly believed to be due to the fact he comes with considerable financial backing from PDVSA.
“I am happy to come back to Sahara Force India. The team is aiming high for next year and I believe that the experience I have gained over the years will help us achieve those goals,” said Hulkenberg.
“I genuinely believe we can have a competitive package in 2014. I've heard a lot of positive things about the Mercedes engine as well, so I think there is a lot to be excited about for next year.
"I know this team and I can see their determination; it's a great bunch of people and we all share the same hunger for success.”
Force India team principal and managing director, Dr Vijay Mallya, added: “I'm delighted to see Nico back with Sahara Force India. When he drove for us in 2012, it became clear Nico was an exceptional talent and he has continued to impress everyone in the paddock with his strong performances this season.
“Having Nico in our line-up is a real statement of intent and a huge boost for everyone associated with the team.
“We have high hopes and expectations for 2014 and by signing Nico we have put ourselves in the best position to achieve those objectives and enjoy what could be our most competitive season yet.”
Hulkenberg's team-mate meanwhile has still to be announced, with the squad adding that its 'full 2014 driver line-up will be announced in due course'.
McLaren refugee Sergio Perez has been touted as one possibility, along with current drivers Adrian Sutil
and Paul di Resta.