Hulkenberg in frame for 2014 race seat at Lotus, Force India or Sauber

18 November, 2013

Nico Hulkenberg in Austin

Nico Hulkenberg in Austin

Nico Hulkenberg continues to be the big player at the tail-end of the 2014 F0rmula 1 driver silly season.

As recently as Sunday in the Austin paddock, most insiders expected that Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado’s PDVSA millions had resulted in a done deal for the most competitive race seat still vacant on next year’s grid.

That might be why Maldonado suddenly toned down his astonishing attack on Williams, including suspicions of sabotage, on Sunday – perhaps he was told behaviour like that is not welcome at Lotus, even despite his PDVSA power.

“In the good times we were together, and also the bad times,” he said, referring to Williams as his “family”.

Maldonado also had a bad race to go with his bad qualifying in Texas, as he clashed on the first lap with Force India’s angry Adrian Sutil.

“We’ve had many incidents with this driver,” said the German, “so maybe he needs an emergency area around him to avoid these kinds of things.”

Lotus may be holding out hope that the heavily delayed investment by the ‘Quantum’ group eventually hits its bank account.

Quantum chief Mansoor Ijaz has made clear he wants the highly talented, but mainly unsponsored, Nico Hulkenberg at the wheel in 2014.

Asked about Hulkenberg on Sunday, Ijaz told Britain’s Sky: “We’re going to make that part of it happen in terms of making sure [team boss Eric Boullier] gets enough money.

“We’re very close now – I’m pretty sure we’ll get it done this week,” he added.

Hulkenberg, then, can still hope. Failing the Lotus seat, many believe he is also still in the running for Paul di Resta’s Force India berth.

Indeed, Hulkenberg’s manager Werner Heinz was seen in the Force India hospitality area, speaking with deputy boss Bob Fernley, after the US Grand Prix, according to French television Canal Plus.

Britain’s Sky claimed on Sunday that Monisha Kaltenborn wants the German to stay at Sauber in 2014.

“That’s good news, isn’t it?” Hulkenberg smiled after hearing about his options on Sunday, after finishing the US Grand Prix in a strong sixth place.

“All I can do is keep delivering on the track.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.


  • Kimi4WD

    Is Lotus in frame for the grid next season? :)

  • Snowman

    A bit rich of Sutil to blame maldonado for that shunt when it was entirely his fault

  • McLarenfan

    If Lotus employ the psychotic mouth piece Maldonado for next season they better install a rubber bumper all the way round the car and take out liability insurance that covers marshals and members of the public he is a menace that cant be trusted with a dodgem car.

  • Robb

    Yes, Sutil stating that it is well known Maldonado needs to be given a bit of extra room, yet he moved over on him, crowding him unnecessarily. I guess that makes him pretty stupid.

  • Fletcher

    It’s always Maldonado’s fault even when it’s not

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