Nico H???lkenberg confirms he is leaving Williams

2011 F1 season

Nico H???lkenberg, Williams, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Nico H???lkenberg has confirmed he will not be driving for Williams in 2011.

In a statement on his official website he said:

I heavily regret that, because I would have been happy to stay with Williams. I want to thank the team for a great time and I wish Williams all the best for the future.
Nico H???lkenberg

H???lkenberg’s manager Willi Weber said his driver will stay in F1 next year:

I am negotiating with other teams. Nico will have his seat in F1 in 2011.
Willi Weber

H???lkenberg finished 14th in his first F1 season with 22 points to Barrichello’s 47. He scored his maiden pole position at Interlagos eight days ago.

But prior to that strong rumours had already emerged linking Pastor Maldonado, his successor as GP2 champion, to his seat in 2011.

Maldonado will drive for HRT in the young drivers’ test tomorrow and then for Williams on Wednesday.

On Saturday Williams chairman Adam Parr said the team had not yet decided on their driver-line up for 2011.

Amid claims Maldonado was being brought in because of his substantial financial backing from Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA he added:

We have replaced all the sponsorship we have lost and we are in great shape for next year. I actually feel more positive about the future now than I have done for the a long time even though, funnily enough, we actually turned a profit as a company every year for the last three years and we will this year and we will next year.
Adam Parr

Frank Williams said:

At Williams we have for many years tried to bring new talent into the sport, and we are convinced that Nico will go on to great things. We wish him well and hope that our paths will cross again in the future.
Frank Williams

Read more: list of 2011 F1 drivers and teams

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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108 comments on Nico H???lkenberg confirms he is leaving Williams

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  1. Victor. said on 15th November 2010, 9:56

    What a shame. Horrible decision by Williams :(

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th November 2010, 11:03

      A bit more from Frank Williams here: Barrichello to stay at Williams in 2011

    • You never know, whos desicion it was. Weber (Hulks manager) did not want to sign up to the 5 year deal Williams proposed, so that will have had an influence on the desicion.

      It would not have been the first good pilot Williams let go though (Button, Webber, Hill, Coulthard, …).

      • Adam Tate said on 15th November 2010, 23:23

        Sadly Williams is quite notorious for letting drivers go when they are bringing in good results, to add to your list BasCB, I nominate Juan Pablo Montoya, and Nick Heidfeld.

        Atleast they have sense enough to keep ahold of Rubens.

    • Bad Bad Williams :(

      I hope he will be in Force India or Renault but both teams need money. but i am sure if he can grab any of those seat, he can push kubica or Sutil like anything

  2. Such a shame. Hope he gets a drive next season.

  3. The Dutch Bear said on 15th November 2010, 9:58

    Great shame, Williams should have dumped Barrichello, rather than one of the greatest talents in F1.

  4. It cannot be true! :(

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 15th November 2010, 11:30

      I think he could secure an equally god drive next year… so I’m not too disappointed. If his performance at Brazil could get him some more sponsorship backing.. I think Renault or Force India might give him a shot.

      • an equally god drive next year.

        Wow, his pole in Brazil was good, but to call it that is a bit much Todfod ;-)

        With Weber as manager, he is bound to find a drive next year. Renault is still not decided, is it?

      • good call, liuzzi was rubbish

  5. Robbie said on 15th November 2010, 10:01

    This makes me sad. The kid has a lot of potential. :(

    • He said he’s left Williams, not F1. Hope he can drive for a more competitive team in 2011.

      • Except how many seats are there up for grabs next season?

        Short of the three new teams, only FI and Renault are likely to have an empty seat, while STR is the preserve of those drivers from the Marko system (i.e the Red Bull drivers program) and Schumacher isn’t going back to a second retirement.

        Unlikely that the top three will have any need for a third driver, which leaves Sauber, as Nick Heidfeld staying on isn’t confirmed and I guess, everyone’s favourite Kobayashi is going to remain there…

        A Hulk-Kobayashi team in 2011?

        • Only Sauber has announced 2 races ago, that they are happy to get Perez in the second car from next year on and get Telmex to sponsor them.
          Sorry no place free there.

          I would guess, Weber is talking to both Red Bull (will Webber want to stay) and Ferrari (will Massa want to stay, and Ferrari keep him. Or will they switch Webber and Massa around?) as well as Renault and Force India, after possibly securing a Mercedes option for 2012 and onwards.

          And what about Kubica, he might jump ship if Renault wants to get in and a failed italian marketing man takes over (and go to Ferrari or to Red Bull). That would be 2 undecided places at that team.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 15th November 2010, 19:48

            If either Webber or Massa leave that would be pretty massive.

          • Adam Tate said on 15th November 2010, 23:41

            Webber or Massa leaving would be incredibly massive, but I would kind of like to see them swap teams. Webber could beat Alonso in the same car, and Massa in the RB7 could beat Alonso, and hopefully give our new World Champ a consistent run for his money.

            If this were to happen I’d eat my shoe as it seems the least likely thing in the world, but oh how I would love it.

          • I must admit that I wans’t paying much attention to the Perez announcement, so that leaves either FI (that crash can’t have helped Liuzzi’s chances) or Renault (which Petrov made a good case for keeping him there last Sunday)…

            I’m not sure if having Webber at Ferrari would be a good idea especially if it means Flavio showing his mug around the Ferrari pit garage…

      • I know, but I think to leave so soon in a team that is re-establishing itself is sad.

  6. Surely williams made some short sighted decision and i hope to see him in some better team and show his potential. If massa plans to leave ferrari then it could be get bet for put some future on hulk atleast for 1yr. If he clicks it would be good ,if not they can go for kubica.

  7. It’s a real shame that this is most likely a money decision when it should be talent decision.

  8. Remco H said on 15th November 2010, 10:11

    With Philips and RBS leaving both the team and F1, Williams is in need of money to survive. Wili Weber said that Nico will be driving at another team for 2011.
    Weber also stated that Williams already made the deal with Pastor Maldonado. He brings along € 12,000,000 so Williams F1 is to live another day. Sad for Hulkenberg indeed, we’ll see where he’s at in 2011.

    • Adam Tate said on 15th November 2010, 23:43

      Sad as it is, you bring a good point. It would be much more sad to see a cash-strapped Williams return to their poor form of recent years and ultimately disappear than it will be to see Hulkenberg spend a season or two in a crappy car.

  9. Paul Oz said on 15th November 2010, 10:12

    That does seem a little short sighted…. but Williams have a history of getting this wrong. Button?

      • sumedh said on 15th November 2010, 10:54

        Great article, and rather curious.

        It talks about Kubica almost joining Renault, Michael almost joining Mercedez and Lewis almost joining Williams.

        On the 2010 grid, Kubica IS driving for Renault, Michael IS driving for Mercedez. So I guess, Lewis might indeed drive for Williams one day!!

      • Forgot that one before, but it almost seems like getting passed over by Williams is a champion making feat!

    • Decided not to renew Damon Hill for 1997 at the end of 1995. Damon won the title in 1996.

      Nigel Mansell won the title in 1992. Ended up pushing him out for 1993.

      Nelson Piquet won the title in 1987. Piquet moved to Lotus for 1988.

      Hard to say in the cases above how much of it was Williams’ fault and how much of it the driver’s, but there is a trend here.

      • David BR said on 15th November 2010, 10:36

        Trend: Frank ‘Anyone-can-drive-my-car-and-win’ Williams?

        Good luck to Hülkenberg. If Barrichello brings technical know-how, why not employ him as a test driver? Or consultant? Because on the track he’s not going to get any better.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th November 2010, 10:39

          If Barrichello brings technical know-how, why not employ him as a test driver?

          What would he do for the 11 months of the year that aren’t February?

          • David BR said on 15th November 2010, 10:47

            Make pizzas? He loves making pizzas!

            Seriously, I’d chose future talent over Barrichello entering retirement phase, but what do I know.

          • HounslowBusGarage said on 15th November 2010, 10:49

            Stand on the pit wall and learn how to be a team manager, just like Schumacher did during his “retirement”.
            Oh, and be available as a reserve driver who could actually jump into the car at the last moment and make a significant contribution to the race.

          • Hairs (@hairs) said on 15th November 2010, 12:43

            Barrichello is more valuable to Williams right now than a fast driver who can get the odd pole. Barrichello’s no slouch, he’s still bringing the car up where it doesn’t necessarily belong, and getting good results for a midfield team. Williams need that, after years of Nakajima.

            Rubens can do something Williams need – fix their engineering.

            As to their driver employment strategies, I already said it in the forum. This marks Williams on the way downhill.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th November 2010, 13:23

          If Barrichello brings technical know-how, why not employ him as a test driver? Or consultant? Because on the track he’s not going to get any better.

          So long as he’s doing better than his team-mate, I see no reason to drop him.

        • I’m almost sad that my Brazil post-qualifying prediction was right, Williams won’t hesitate to let a driver go regardless of what they bring to the team…

      • fordsrule said on 15th November 2010, 11:19

        Agree with all but 1992, Williams wanted Mansell to stay, but he didnt want to partner Prost because of the Ferrari days, thats what I have always heard anyway. :)

        • Alex Bkk said on 15th November 2010, 11:31

          I don’t remember Mansell leaving because of Prost, but I do remember Prost leaving because of Senna.

          • CoolGav said on 15th November 2010, 12:17

            And Senna not joining until ’94 because Prost was signed for ’93.

          • Didn’t Prost have a clause in his contract stopping Williams from signing Senna for 1993, and when that expired for 1994 and Williams were going to sign Senna, Prost retired again.

  10. I don’t know what else Williams are meant to do, they clearly need the sponsorship money. Yes in an ideal world it would be nice to keep both drivers, but its not an ideal world and they didn’t have that option. Hulkenberg had a good weekend in Brazil but overall he has been shaded by Rubens – and when you weigh up what Barrichello brings to the technical side of the team then its an understandable decision. If they wanted Maldonado for pure performance then they’d be making a mistake, but that clearly is not the situation. Its an unfortunate situation, but it isn’t a mistake IMO. The most important thing is that the team survives.

    • Chalky said on 15th November 2010, 10:20

      My thoughts exactly. Williams are a racing team 1st and need money to go racing. Only once they have sorted funding can they then pick talent.

  11. Not supporting Williams anymore. That’s the stupidest decision in F1.

  12. Never know… could be a blessing in disguise… what if Webber leaves Red Bull now… Hulkenberg could be an ideal replacement…

    A good driver, but Barrichello has had the edge on him, Maldonado will offer next to nothing. A shame.

  13. I know Williams may come off as the bad guys but they clearly need the money which shows just what a sorry state they’re in if they’re willing to let go of Hulkenberg. I hope the money kickstarts them and they’ve been steadily getting better in the second half of the year but they still only just beat Force India. I hope Williams can recover because I just have this awful feeling regarding them at the moment.

    Personally, I think they’ve got rid of the wrong driver. Barrichello’s is meant to be technically brilliant and his experience will be a massive help. It was probably the right decision in that way but Hulkenberg could be something really special and just what they need although of course, if they don’t give him the car it’s all for nothing anyway so they probably did make the right decision but it’s not nice to see a potential future world champ leave a team I’d hoped he’d help save. I suppose whichever one they got rid of it still would have shown just how bad the situation is for them.

  14. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 15th November 2010, 10:26

    holy cow!… that’s incredible…

    tho, maybe Hulkenberg at Renault next year :D? Kubica-the Hulk would be a great lineup!

  15. Dan Newton said on 15th November 2010, 10:26

    This might sound quite harsh as I like Nico but I’d rather see Williams on the grid next year. If I am correct they are the last fully independant team left, they need to keep afloat somehow, even at the expence of talent such as Nico.

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