Nico Hulkenberg splits from manager Willi Weber

2011 F1 season

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Sepang, 2011

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Sepang, 2011

Force India’s reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg has split from manager Willi Weber.

Hulkenberg sais he will now manage his own affairs, as some other F1 drivers including Sebastian Vettel do.

Hulkenberg, who raced for Williams in 2010 but lost his seat at the end of the year, announced the split on his website:

Nico Hulkenberg and manager Willi Weber part their ways. The 23-year-old Formula 1 driver from now on takes management matters in his own hands.

“Both sides are currently working on a smooth changeover and on a satisfying solution for anyone. Hulkenberg will from now on be supported in executing his management issues by his former PR advisor Timo Gans.”

Weber has been associated with Hulkenberg since running the driver in the 2006-07 A1 Grand Prix season for Team Germany, when they won the championship.

Weber previously managed Michael Schumacher and his brother Ralf.

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39 comments on Nico Hulkenberg splits from manager Willi Weber

  1. AdrianMorse said on 13th May 2011, 9:12

    I hope he can land a decent drive next year, manager or no.

  2. Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 13th May 2011, 9:14

    Weber still manages Schumey right?.

    Schumacher is pretty much the reason why The Hulk hasn’t got a race seat, why have Hulk when Schumey is back on the scene?, if I was Michael I’d be ashamed of myself… stunting a developing drivers career just because he wants to knock wings off midfield teams.

    STAY CLASSY MICHAEL!.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th May 2011, 9:26

      Schumacher is pretty much the reason why The Hulk hasn’t got a race seat,

      That’s a bit of a leap – Schumacher had a three-year deal signed before HĂĽlkenberg had even started his first race.

    • RIISE (@riise) said on 13th May 2011, 9:31

      How do you know Mercedes would’ve wanted Hulk anyway? And yeah like Keith says they both entered F1 last year with race seats so I’m not sure how Schumacher has stunted his growth.

      He’s got a good chance of a drive in the FI next year anyway so just chill a bit.

      • Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 13th May 2011, 9:41

        He’s got a good chance of a drive in the FI next year anyway so just chill a bit.

        Sorry if I came across as aggressive dude, it was merely a flippant comment on the internet.

        I just don’t like Schumey, I believe this video is pretty apt for my conduct in this situation;
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0la5DBtOVNI

        That’s a bit of a leap – Schumacher had a three-year deal signed before Hülkenberg had even started his first race.

        Well he is taking up a race seat isn’t he?, its debatable whether or not who that seat could have gone to if he wasn’t kicking wings off Torro Rosso’s.

        That and The Hulk was probably waiting for a new deal from Williams instead of courting Merc with his charm and good looks fully.

        • Spaulding (@spaulding) said on 13th May 2011, 14:47

          There are a multitude of drivers in F1 that don’t deserve their seats based off of talent besides Schumacher. Of these, I would place all of these drivers in front of Schumacher for deserving to lose their seats first and therefore occupying a seat that The Hulk could take (in no particular order):

          Sergio Perez
          Jerome d’Ambrosio
          Pastor Maldonado
          Narain Karthikeyan

          There are others that I would also kick before Schumacher, but don’t necessarily deserve to be kicked, yet… (i.e. Alguersuari, maybe Buemi as well, Barrichello, Trulli) Most of these people either still have something to prove or are bringing too much money to a team to get rid of (although D’Ambrosio might be let go for failure to provide promised sponsor payments and worthwhile results).

          I understand you are apparently an uber fan of Hulkenburg, but that’s no excuse to single out one driver who, although has become a bit inconsistant and over aggresive, is no worse than half the field and probably brings a fair amount of money to their team.

          Oh, and flippant comments on the internet still deserve a slap in the face with a fish just like in IRL. Just because you can hide behind a screen doesn’t mean that you need to be a troll.

          • Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 13th May 2011, 15:31

            I understand you are apparently an uber fan of Hulkenburg

            I’m not actually, I just believe that currently, Hulk is better than Schumey.

            If your interested, I was a massive Alonso fan, until the “i’m faster than him” debacle last year… as of now, I’m not an uber fan of anyone, although I do admire Sutil’s mixed weather skills.

            Oh, and flippant comments on the internet still deserve a slap in the face with a fish just like in IRL. Just because you can hide behind a screen doesn’t mean that you need to be a troll.

            I’d already apologised for my aggressive comment, so don’t call me a troll, also just because someone doesn’t share your viewpoint, it doesn’t make them a troll.

            Its a shame because until your last paragraph you made a valid argument and then you felt the need to reinforce your viewpoint by smacking me down and generally being unpleasant, next time stick to your guns and leave the quasi insults out of it.

            I might have been flippant, but at least I didn’t attack anyone on here.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 14th May 2011, 8:07

            @Spaulding. You just mentioned 3 rookies in your list. These drivers are 4 races down in their career… maybe you need to give them till the end of the season.

            But I have to agree on Karthikeyan. Narain and Schumi are really no worthy of being on the grid anymore.. and Rubens and Jarno are pretty close too.

          • Mike said on 16th May 2011, 6:59

            Considering how much Schumacher has helped to build the sport as a global product, you’d think the hardcore F1 guys would let him take a bit back for himself…

        • tequilatim said on 14th May 2011, 4:50

          Trulli, Glock, Barrichello, Buemi, Luizzi,
          Kovalainen, are all taking up race seats too.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th May 2011, 10:07

      Schumacher is pretty much the reason why The Hulk hasn’t got a race seat, why have Hulk when Schumey is back on the scene?

      Actually, Michael Schumacher was pretty much integral to Weber’s plan for Nico Hulkenberg.

      Hulkenberg’s problem is that when he arrived on the scene, there was already a superfast young German driver: Sebastian Vettel. And he was already well-established as a race winner and title contender by the time Hulkenberg showed up. It would be virtually impossible for Hulkenberg to overthrow Vettel and claim that particular title as his own. But Willi Weber was smart enough to recognise the one thing Sebastian Vettel didn’t have: Michael Schumacher. So he established a plan for Hulkenberg to race alongside Schumacher at some point, with Hulkenberg learning from the Old Master. That way, when Schumacher retired, the torch would be passed on to Nico Hulkenberg, and the German public would see him as Germany’s new hope.

      There were two problems with Weber’s plan, and both of them are named Nico Rosberg: firstly, he wiped the floor with Schumacher last year, and now he’s doing it again. But more importantly, he’s taking the seat that Hulkenberg would otherwise have. In order to get the Mercedes GP seat alongside Schumacher, Hulkenberg would have to race in a Mercedes-powered team for a year, since a test and reserve role was out of the question with the ban on testing. And this is where another problem came up: Paul di Resta. Mercedes clearly have their eye on him, and given his close association with the team, he’s going to be first in line for any Mercedes GP seat. And with Hulkenberg forced to sit this year out, none of the major teams are going to start flirting with him until he’s got another year of racing down. You can see the major problem here – there’s a good chance that by the time Hulkenberg is in a position where he can join Mercedes, Michael Schumacher will have moved on.

      if I was Michael I’d be ashamed of myself… stunting a developing drivers career just because he wants to knock wings off midfield teams.

      Yes, because the only reason why Schumacher came back to the sport is because he wanted to deny someone a seat. Nico Hulkenberg isn’t even that great; sure, he got a pole position last year, but take a look at some of his other performances – he was the worst starter in the entire field. Just watch his on-board camera at Suzuka; he’s practically asleep when the lights go out.

      • Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 13th May 2011, 15:39

        Hulkenberg’s problem is that when he arrived on the scene, there was already a superfast young German driver

        Thank you PM, I knew the F1fanatics would enlighten me, thanks for being clear, concise and from what I know of the situation (since I’m not in F1) being very informative and to the point!.

        Yes, because the only reason why Schumacher came back to the sport is because he wanted to deny someone a seat

        Of course he’s not in that Merc to deny someone a seat, but you can’t deny that while he’s in that seat, he’s taking that seat away from someone else… its clear that he can’t cut it anymore… the new guard (i.e. young drivers) aren’t scared of him, they relish fighting him on track and often beating him.

        Brawn and the Merc team can bang the telemetry drum about why he isn’t getting results all day long, the fact is, he’s not getting results and he’s making very silly rookie mistakes… and he’s a 7 time world champion (thought I’d throw that in, just in case you didn’t know! :D)

    • ben69 (@ben69) said on 13th May 2011, 10:07

      Willi Weber is not Michael Schumacher’s manager! They parted their ways in 2009. Willi now just looks after the merchandise business of Schumi.

      Michael Schumacher’s long-time media manager and spokeswoman Sabine Kehm is now his manager.

  3. Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 13th May 2011, 9:42

    word of warning, that video I posted has a swear word in it, so if your at work… be mindful of your volume.

  4. BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th May 2011, 9:54

    Maybe with hindsight Hulk was not that impressed with how Weber managed his contractual situation with Williams last year?

    Still, he is close enough to a race drive to get back to it soon.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 13th May 2011, 13:03

      I thought the same, but Weber was considering long-term plans, and maybe Nico would have preferred to be driving this year.

  5. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan) said on 13th May 2011, 10:34

    At last a good news from the Hulk!
    Weber is real bloodsucker only intersted to drain millions out of drivers. But this has become difficult in the era of pay drivers…

  6. Dev said on 13th May 2011, 11:04

    he will replace Sutil next year…

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th May 2011, 11:20

    I’m still not understanding the love for Hulkenberg. What did he do that was so great, anyway? Sure, he got pole in Brazil, but what else did he do? Did he beat Barrichello? Was he rookie of the year? Did he get consistently better over the year? The answer is no. He was inconsistent, failed to live up to expectations as the reigning GP2 champion, had a season filled with silly mistakes and generally posed no threat to anyone on the circuit. And to top it all off, his attitude of not wanting to find sponsors for his team when they needed them the most (and when there are better drivers than he is who bring sponsors to their teams) was atrocious.

    • OEL said on 13th May 2011, 12:02

      “Was he rookie of the year?”

      Yes.

      • Anthony said on 13th May 2011, 13:02

        I think kobayashi was. Did so much more than hulkemberg.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th May 2011, 13:49

        “Was he rookie of the year?”

        Yes.

        So, sloppy starts, frequent errors and an inability to finish higher than he started was enough to be crowned Rookie of the Year?

        Sorry, but that’s not the way it works. One pole position does not redeem a season where Hulkenberg made an error that cost him positions in almost every race.

    • Dileep Nair (@dileep_nair) said on 13th May 2011, 12:53

      On the contrary, I think he did live up to the hype. He ran Barichello very closely right throughout the season. Even did better during a few weekends. Surely deserved a seat this season. And should certainly be beack racing the next year.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 13th May 2011, 13:05

      He beat Maldonado when they were team mates at ART in GP2, so I don’t see why Pastor should replace him.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th May 2011, 13:41

        It’s all money isn’t it? Williams all but admitted that. I’m sure The Hulk will be around a good few years yet.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th May 2011, 13:52

          Yes, it’s money. Williams lost four major sponsors at the end of last year, and needed money or else they risked closing. Nico Hulkenberg was given every opportunity to retain his seat. All he had to do was find some sponsorship to help keep the team afloat. He said no, and instead demanded to be judged purely on his talent. The irony of it is that he probably would have had an easier job of finding sponsors than anyone short of Kamui Kobayashi.

          Williams aren’t to blame for Nico Hulkenberg losing his seat. Hulkenberg managed that all on his own.

          • Klon (@klon) said on 13th May 2011, 13:58

            Actually I have to jump to HĂĽlkenberg’s defense here. The “I ain’t a pay driver”-mentality was mainly a product of Weber’s arrogance, less his own doing. I guess HĂĽlkenberg has grown wise to what a overblown douche his manager is.

      • snowman said on 13th May 2011, 14:03

        Agree with PM. If it wasn’t for the pole at Brazil Hulkenberg was pretty underwhelming. Still think he is a good talent and deserves a seat but not a great talent. If he is as great as a lot of people say Barrichelo would have been a lot unhappier when they where team mates. Think he is right to get rid of Webber because he really should have got him a seat this year instead of the testing.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th May 2011, 14:22

          Hulkenberg had three offers: Williams, Virgin and Hispania. He turned Williams down because he didn’t want to find sponsors. He turned Virgin down because he didn’t want to race alongside another German (if Glock had beaten him, it would have seriously damaged his career prospects). And he turned Hispania down because he didn’t want to be at the back of the grid.

          • OEL said on 13th May 2011, 15:56

            Well, PM, name one rookie who was better than Hulkenberg last year (if you’re going to say Kobayashi, well, he wasn’t really a rookie with 2 starts under his belt)

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th May 2011, 21:00

            I would say Petrov was marginally better OEL. Marginally.

    • RIISE (@riise) said on 14th May 2011, 10:39

      Stop all the hate for Hulkenberg, he did a good job last year regardless of what you say. He was 22, up against an experienced team mate and managed to beat him a few times. Considering the Williams was firmly in the mid-field getting points 7 times was a good achievement.

      It’s funny how Hulk gets so much stick from you yet your love for Petrov who was seemingly pathetic all of last season (And this season actually apart from Australia) seem to be off the charts. Petrov was in a Renault well capable of points (And much better than the Williams) yet he only finished in the points 5 times.

      You are so misguided it’s ridiculous, it’s as if you want to be different to cause a conflict and annoy everyone.

  8. wasiF1 said on 13th May 2011, 15:22

    So currently Schumacher isn’t managed by Webber.

  9. force maikel said on 13th May 2011, 17:56

    yes, but i can remember eddy jordan discussing
    during the abu dhabi GP about Schumachers return and if he schould stay at mercedes for 2011 and what would happen to some drivers including Hulkenburg and he slipped that the most team moves depended on what schumacher would do for 2011 at least thats what i can remeber

  10. Eggry (@eggry) said on 13th May 2011, 18:09

    Not a good sign for him….

  11. Oliver said on 14th May 2011, 3:34

    I don’t see how Willie Webber was responsible for Hulkenberg leaving Williams. Neither do I see Schumacher’s retirement as an automatic ticket for Hulkenberg.
    Last time I checked, Barichello was the reason Hulkenberg lost his drive, and you can also add Pastor Maldonado, PSDVA(or whatever), and then those sponsors who left williams.

    If a driver believes arrogantly, that he doesn’t need sponsorship to drive for a team, he should just walk up to any team and kick out their under performing driver.

    Skill, good fortune and sometimes, sponsorship, is what gets a driver into F1, not any form of entitlement.

  12. Jack Flash - Adelaide said on 14th May 2011, 7:06

    errr.. Wilhelm (Willie) Friedrich Weber. One ‘b’. German root of surname. Pronounced phonetically ‘Vay-ber’.

    Also the surname of the German physicist Wilhelm Eduard ‘Weber’ whose name is used in SI units of measurement for Magnetic Field Flux. Original ethnicity surname.

    A Weber BBQ, although oft pronounced Webber by English speaking world , is actually really ‘Vay-ber’ BBQ.

    Not the Anglocised surname Webber – ergo Mark Webber from Anglo-Australian lineage. “Webber” is not Weber.

    Not that hard really. JF

  13. Oliver said on 14th May 2011, 12:23

    Renault have admitted that they didn’t manage Petrov properly in his debut season.
    Not saying Petrov and Hulkenberg are level in terms of ability, but Hulkenberg had been a test driver for Williams the previous year, thus he wasn’t coming straight into an unknown environment. Petrov on the other hand, was new to F1, and in a team notorious for paying no attention to their No2 driver.

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