Hulkenberg has reportedly signed Force India deal for 2014
24 November, 2013
Reports from Brazil have it that Nico Hulkenberg has signed a one-year deal to return to Force India for next season, according to the authoritative Auto Motor und Sport.
Correspondent Michael Schmidt said that the 26-year-old German’s deal includes ‘options’ beyond 2014, but the news would tie in with reports Hulkenberg is first in line for a Ferrari drive should Fernando Alonso jump ship for 2015.
“The deal should be announced in the next few days, and maybe right after the Brazilian Grand Prix,” said Schmidt.
It is expected that Hulkenberg’s teammate next year will be Force India incumbent Adrian Sutil. The German has been hinting for weeks that he is staying put at the Silverstone based team.
“I know it already but I will not say it,” the smiling Sutil told the German broadcaster RTL at Interlagos.
“I have had a contract for months, and it is signed. I don’t want to confirm it officially, because the team has a rule that you cannot publicly discuss contractual situations. But I will definitely be back next year,” the 30-year-old revealed.
Complicating the issue for Force India, however, is the presence on the market of the powerful sponsored drivers Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez.
Force India deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley told the BBC, “We’ve got two good drivers. There has … to be compelling reasons to change them, and at the moment [those reasons] are not there. That decision is for [Team Principal] Vijay [Mallya], and it’s not one we have to take yet.”
“There are some issues with Lotus, I think they’re the key in the driver market. Once that is sorted, I think that will tumble down and we’re probably the next in line,” explained Fernley.
Lotus is the most competitive team with a driver vacancy for 2014, but that team is grappling with the ‘will-it-or-won’t-it’ arrival of crucial investment from the Quantum group.
So, along with Force India, Sauber is next in the queue for the pick of the remaining drivers on the 2014 market, and reports say that the Swiss team is in serious talks with both Maldonado and McLaren refugee Perez.
Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn told RTL in Interlagos that the driver decision will be made soon, “Maybe in the coming week.” (GMM-Apex)
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