Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg’s future is still very much up in the air with the German continuing talks with a “couple of teams” about securing a drive for next year, despite being the favourite to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus.
Hulkenberg has put in some impressive drives this season in a car that has largely been uncompetitive and Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has publicly identified the 26-year-old as the leading candidate to fill Raikkonen’s shoes.
But the team– which struggled to pay Raikkonen’s wages — are understood to be reluctant to commit to a driver until a long-delayed investment deal with a consortium of investors that will put the Enstone-based squad on a solid financial footing is finalised.
“There is still no news, still no decision in terms of my future,” Hulkenberg said in an interview.
“Still having contacts and negotiations with a couple of teams. So we’re still in a process of sorting it out and hoping to select the right one,” he said, declining to name the teams he is talking to.
For his part, Hulkenberg, also reportedly in talks with Force India about a return to the Silverstone-based team, has told Lotus that he would like a clarification about his chances of getting the drive by the end of this month.
But the former Williams driver declined to go into the details of whether he expected to hear back from Lotus within that timeframe.
“Everybody wants to have security rather sooner than later but sometimes you know things take a bit longer and don’t happen overnight and you’ve got to be patient,” Hulkenberg said.
“That’s the game in Formula One.”
“We’re talking obviously and there’s always updates and situations but can’t really talk about too much detail there.”
Image courtesy Octane Photographic