Hulkenberg seals Force India return for 2014

Dr Vijay Mallya and Nico HulkenbergForce India has confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg will be returning to the team in 2014 following a year away at Sauber in 2013.

Hulkenberg joined Force India in 2011 as a development driver before stepping up to a full-time seat in 2012, where he produced some fine displays and was even in contention to win the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

However, the German driver opted for a move away from the team, joining Sauber for 2013, but with a troublesome car and financial difficulties blighting the team’s season, it appears that he has opted for a return to calmer waters.

Hulkenberg had come close to securing the seat at Ferrari following the decision to drop Felipe Massa at the end of the season. However, after Kimi Raikkonen lost out to Daniel Ricciardo in the race to join Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull, the Finn became the Italian marque’s first choice, and he will join Fernando Alonso at Maranello next season.

After missing out on the seat at Ferrari, Hulkenberg became Lotus’ first choice in its search for a replacement for Raikkonen, but financial pressures meant that the Enstone outfit opted to hire Pastor Maldonado from Williams.

Although Hulkenberg may have wanted to be at at more established team for next season, he is happy to have found a seat for 2014.

“I am happy to come back to Sahara Force India,” Hulkenberg said. “The team is aiming high for next year and I believe that the experience I have gained over the years will help us achieve those goals.

“I genuinely believe we can have a competitive package in 2014. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the Mercedes engine as well, so I think there is a lot to be excited about for next year. I know this team and I can see their determination; it’s a great bunch of people and we all share the same hunger for success.”

The team is yet to confirm who will partner Hulkenberg in 2014, but Paul di Resta is widely expected to be out of the running for the seat. Adrian Sutil could stay put, but he will have to stave off competition from Sergio Perez following the Mexican’s dismissal by McLaren.

Image courtesy of Sahara Force India.

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