Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg has signed a ‘multi-year deal’ with Renault for 2017 to switch from Force India to Renault.
Announced on Friday the 14th, Hulkenberg, 29, is to lead the team as they build up to competitiveness following their return to F1. He also said he was “very happy” to be joining the team, adding that it had “always been a dream” to work for a manufacturer team. Hulkenberg has taken a gamble but he believes in Renault’s ability to become a major force in the next few years.
Hulkenberg started his F1 career back in 2010 with Williams and claimed his first and so far only pole position. He was dropped by Williams for 2011 and was picked up by Force India for 2012. Hulkenberg then moved to Sauber in 2013 and then returned to Force India for 2014. Despite competing in 111 races, Hulkenberg has never been on the podium.
Hulkenberg has always been topped for a “big drive”, notably at Ferrari and McLaren but has never been able to get one.
Hulkenberg was always on Renault’s wish list
Hulkenberg has always been on Renault’s wish list but was never Renault’s first choice of driver. Renault tried but failed to recruit both Carlos Sainz and Hulkenberg’s current team-mate Sergio Perez. The second seat at Renault remains open, with current drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer in the frame, along with Manor’s Esteban Ocon. Renault are also interested in Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, who is in salary negotiations with his current team Williams.
Seats still being decided
The second seat also remains open at Force India with the first seat being occupied by Sergio Perez. Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein is the main contender at the moment for the seat but Palmer is also an option as it would be a straight swap with Hulkenberg.
Williams driver Valterri Bottas is torn between staying at Williams or moving to Renault alongside Hulkenberg. Lance Stroll, has just won the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and is set to take the second seat at Williams alongside Bottas, if he stays.
The United States GP will take place In Austin on the 21st – 23rd of October.