Mallya: Sergio and Nico are drivers with fire in their bellies, they are really hungry
19 December, 2013
Vijay Mallya is brimming with pride and confidence after snaring, what he believes to be the best young drivers in Formula 1 to drive for his Force India team in 2014.
The Silverstone based outfit announced the signing of Nico Hulkenberg early in December, and a week later they confirmed a deal with Sergio Perez.
Speaking to the official F1 website, Mallya said of Perez, “I’m very excited. My thought process was very simple. When Sergio drove for Sauber he certainly caught my eye. He was very quick and I guess that was noticed by McLaren.”
“He was signed up by McLaren and I wasn’t very surprised – they are a world-class team, a very big team, and if they signed up Sergio Perez, they obviously saw something in him. I had also seen this, but well before I could even approach him he had gone to McLaren. Which driver in Formula 1 wouldn’t want to go to McLaren?”
Hulkenberg drove for the team in 2011 (as a reserve) and 2012, in 2013 he switched to Sauber and has now returned for a second stint with Force India.
“I’ve always had my eye on Nico Hulkenberg. I told him as early as Malaysia, ‘Nico, if you decide to change from Sauber you better come back home.’ He said, ‘Alright, I promise you. If I decide to change, my first option will be with you’. He stuck to his word – he told me he wanted to move, and I said “fine”, revealed Mallya.
“Yes, I’m sure Nico talked to other teams, but at the end of the day, true to his word, I signed him up. I feel happy because he’s driving for me. I could have retained either one of our existing drivers, but at the end of the day we’ve had long relationships with both, including Adrian Sutil who had a one-year break but came back to us.”
“I consulted my other team members and they all said that we’ve got a new car and a new set of regulations, so let’s get a new set of drivers who have got fire in their bellies and are really hungry. Sergio and Nico fit that bill,” declared Mallya.
Hulkenberg has 58 grand prix starts on his CV, starting with his debut with Williams in 2010. He scored 63 points with Force India in 2012 and finished 11th in the Championship. Last year he scored 51 points but finished 10th in the Championship.
Perez made his F1 debut 2011 Australian Grand Prix and has since started 56 grands prix, finishing 11th this past season with McLaren. (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.