Boullier: “I am in contact with Nico”
The Sauber driver’s contract with the Swiss team was terminated after they failed to pay him in May and June. The small team is struggling financially and the termination means that he could leave whenever he wants, however it looks likely that he will stay on until the end of the year.
Meanwhile Lotus are having to face up to the fact that they could well lose their number one driver Kimi Raikkonen to the temptation of Red Bull Racing in 2014 and are in talks with Nico for a potential drive should the Finn leave.
Raikkonen’s management will meet with Lotus this week to discuss contracts, but Boullier revealed to France’s L’Equipe that Hulkenberg is a potential candidate for next season: “I am in contact with Nico,”
The Frenchman also reportedly dropped Paul Di Resta’s name into the hat. The Force India driver was the hot topic of discussion last year after being linked to drives at Mercedes and McLaren before continuing with Force India.
There is no doubt that Hulkenberg had talent but if he does move to Lotus in 2014, it would mean he has driven for a different team in each season of his four-year career after starting with Williams before moving to Force India for 2011 as their reserve driver. He was then promoted to a race seat in 2012 and moved to Sauber for 2013.
Raikkonen is not in any rush to make up his mind but Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said that a decision is expected to be made “in the summer.” Talking to Austrian Television he said: “Budapest is the beginning of the summer break. Spa at the end. So it [the decision] will fall some time in August,”
Marko is also looking for a drive who can commit long-term to the team: “It shouldn’t be for only one year, but for the next three years, continuity has distinguished us as a team.”
He admitted that they want two strong drivers and have plenty of choice: “We have plenty of choice, there is Kimi and there are many others — almost everyone would want to be with us.
“We need two strong drivers, so you also can win the constructors’ championship. The opposite is Ferrari, who put everything on Alonso and the drivers’ championship. But we want both.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.