Vijay Mallya, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 2013

Hulkenberg returns to Force India for 2014

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Vijay Mallya, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 2013Nico Hulkenberg will drive for Force India again in 2014 after his departure from Sauber was confirmed.

The 26-year-old will return to the team he raced for in 2012 in a “multi-year deal”. Hulkenberg also drove for Force India as a reserve driver during the 2011 season.

Team owner Vijay Mallya said Hulkenberg had shown he was “an exceptional talent” when he last raced for the team.

“Having Nico in our line-up is a real statement of intent and a huge boost for everyone associated with the team. We have high hopes and expectations for 2014 and by signing Nico we have put ourselves in the best position to achieve those objectives and enjoy what could be our most competitive season yet.”

“I am happy to come back to Sahara Force India,” said Hulkenberg. “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.”

Force India are yet to confirm which of this year’s drivers, Paul di Resta or Adrian Sutil, will be replaced by Hulkenberg.

See the updated list of 2014 F1 drivers and teams.

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Image © Force India

155 comments on “Hulkenberg returns to Force India for 2014”

  1. Why did we ever doubt Eddie?

    1. Indeed ;-) I think he will be right everywhere except Sauber, I don’t see them hiring Sutil AND Gutierrez.. Or rather ‘I hope they don’t’

      1. +1 on Sutil and Gutti. It would be one of the worst pairings* in Formula 1! :(

        *Taking into account that Sutil isn’t young, and hasn’t much left in F1, and Gutierrez is new and not fast nor good.

      2. @gdewilde
        I’m afraid so because Sutil who had many chances during his career and failed to prove himself to be worthy of F1 is bringing something like 8 million euros of sponsorship, i’m not sure about the sponsors being blind or not but anyway…,and he is in the final stages of securing a deal with Sauber next year, I really find him extremely boring especially when i remember that some talents like Frinjs & Da Costa didn’t make it to F1 and probably they never will i’m afraid

        1. @tifoso1989 Sutil failed to prove himself worthy of F1? That’s your opinion. He proved himself a very worthy F1 driver, very consistent as well and I seem to remember him beating Di Resta in 2011. Would beat him again this year too if not for the problems that he had in the beginning of the year while FI were the most competitive. And that’s after a year off. He may not be a world champion in waiting but he’s a proven consistent points scorer that also comes with a nice backing. And if I were a team principal in a midfield F1 team, I’d take him any day of the week

          1. Maybe he is a safe bet to hire for a midfield team, but I am one of those guys who is always hoping one of the teams grows a pair and hires a young talented driver who could be a world championship in waiting, not will be, but could be. Now that would get my attention ;-)
            That’s why I give credit to Mclaren. They have done that on a few occasions and sometimes it pays of, sometimes it doesn’t. F1 = Taking risks on all levels

          2. I seem to remember him beating Di Resta in 2011

            Yes when di Resta was a new rookie.

            He has been outclassed this year.

          3. @gdewilde Careful with the sarcasm. Someone might understand you the wrong way here even when you put this “;)”. Ok here goes: from your cosy and warm armchair it’s easy to have high dreams! But when you’re a team principal of a struggling midfield team responsible for 400 employees not so much. That’s why there are young driver programs by big teams and manufacturers and also related companies. Always were( See wikipedia:pilote elf ). Or, failing that, how about Bernie gives more of the profits to those who actually milk his golden cow, so they stop being in trouble? One can dream, right? :);)

          4. @strontium Was he outclassed? That goes against my statement in the original post which read: “Would beat him again this year too if not for the problems that he had in the beginning of the year while FI were the most competitive”. Di Resta had built up a 20 point lead over Sutil up to race 5, when Sutil had problems not of his fault in 3 of those. Di Resta at the same time had one problem (Malaysia, exactly the same as Sutil, but thrice the whining). Btw Sutil lost to Di Resta at the end by 19 points. See what I’m implying?

            Also you mention that Di Resta was a rookie in 2011, but conveniently forget about this from my original post ” And that’s after a year off”

        2. Sutil is a quality driver! He beat Di Resta first time and yes it was Di resta rookie year but Sutil matched Di Resta on pace even with a year out.

          Sutil is a very fast driver (fastest in practice in a spyker! and a force India. Plus his quality drive in Monza in 2008/9) So if he does go to Sauber, they will benefit him.

          Very good driver!

    2. Thumbs up for him. I don’t even remember the last time he was wrong.

      1. Eddie Jordan was emphatic when he predicted the Hulk’s move on live TV. He predicted the move several weeks ago and, if memory serves me right, Eddie said something like, “I’ll stake my reputation on this prediction”. Got to hand it to Eddie Jordan, he called this one so right, when many of us were thinking Hulkenberg would go to Lotus.

        Jordan has a knack of getting it right although he probably has a better inside line than most people.

        1. Well Force India being his old team, im sure he still has moles within the team. so nothing amazing he found out.

        2. They all know lots of stuff in the paddock that they cannot say on tv so they “speculate” with some doing so wrongly even though they know better to keep up the illusion.

      2. Thumbs up for him. I don’t even remember the last time he was wrong.

        Didn’t EJ ‘confirm’ kimi for RBR @jcost? Or am I confusing him with someone else?

        1. @beejis60 Confusing him. EJ categorically said multiple times that RBR would sign Ricciardo.

        2. No @beejis60, he always said it would be RIC like @silence said. The man is “on a streak” :)

      3. @jcost He said very firmly that Alonso would no win the Chinese round this year.

    3. Looks like EJ has it right.. the only doubt can be on whether Caterham pick VDG, Ericsson over Kovalainen and Pic. Going with the current mojo (they are in form, Heikki and Charles are not any more), it seems they are probably a likely pick.

  2. Good for him, at least he has a seat… And i hope those rumors for agreement between him and Ferrari for 2015 are true. Nico deserves car that can fight at least for a podium.

    1. Where did it come from @vasschu? I like the idea.

      IMHO, LdM should just pick Nico Hulkenberg over Kimi and offer the German a 3 years contract. Kimi is good but I doubt he will ever win another WDC, maybe he was hired to help Alonso win his long awaited 3rd WDC and give Ferrari a WCC in the process. However, both those taks could be done by a youger driver who could well lead the team when Fernando Alonso starts thinking about retirement (circa 2016). Maybe Ferrari is betting on Red Bull not being dominant this time and Seb can consider a move in 2016 and then they will have a top driver to replace Alonso…

      1. @jcost

        Its just something i saw on the web, written by guys who don’t have much more clues than us. Speculation and thats all. To be honest, the guy who told this to me, predicted Kimi to Ferrari in 2014 loooong before the buzz even started, but i thought he just got lucky (he doesn’t like Alonso and he is constantly “predicting” that Ferrari are going to drop him). But can’t deny he guessed about Kimi :)

        Anyway if he is right again, i won’t mind at all.

    2. He Has a multi year deal with Force India

      1. Which means he has a year long contract with an option at the end.

        1. Yep! @sumit-chawla Perez was on a multi year deal, as was, I believe, Hulkenberg in his first Force India contract

      2. well then – all german ferrari in 2016!

      3. A contract means nothing in F1

    3. I doubt that he has a Ferrari option – Vettel seems very likely to join them in 2016. If ALO or RAI drop out after 2014 then it will be between Bianchi / Hulk – although I think Bianchi has the better prospects.

      1. @tmf42

        although I think Bianchi has the better prospects.

        What makes you think that? Considering that Ferrari wanted Hulkenberg for 2014, but they went for Raikkonen instead, I have no idea what has given Bianchi in the past week such a higher chance over a driver that was already one of their two choices.

        1. Bianchi is a Ferrari Driver Academy member so he pretty much has one foot already in the door

          1. @dominikwilde I don’t think so. Perez was also part of the FDA and they didn’t seem too interested on him even after what was his “breakthrough” season, that’s why he ended up in McLaren.

            I would be more willing to believe that if Bianchi shows an amazing performance next year, but Ferrari doesn’t seem to care about their FDA as much as Red Bull does for us to assume he Bianchi has such an advantage over somebody who was already on the negotiation table.

          2. @silence the difference is Bianchi has been part of the FDA since he was in Formula 3 and was even a test driver for the race team. Perez joined the FDA after he’d signed for Sauber so naturally they’ll show more interest in Bianchi.

            Only time will tell but I think it’s a given that he’ll be driving a Ferrari in the future

          3. @dominikwilde I think if they were that interested in Bianchi they would have at least showed *some* interest for 2014 instead of going direct to Hulkenberg.

            You could blame it to him still being too green, but a year won’t make that much of a difference if he doesn’t come up with some great performances and Hulkenberg keeps his level.

        2. @silence imo, Hulk isn’t the German they want. Signing RAI over him (even though ALO wanted him as teammate) would indicate that they are planning with VET going to Maranello by 2016 and they simply don’t wanna have 2 German drivers at the same time. Bianchi would have the better cards in this case – considering he shows strong results.
          Anyhow all of this is just conjecture and who knows what will happen.

          1. @tmf42 Assuming everything goes that way (Vettel to Ferrari, Alo and Rai out by then), do you think they’d change somebody like Hulkenberg (atm, the biggest name in F1 after the “big four”) because of his nationality? I would believe that if Bianchi was Italian, but German/German doesn’t sound that much different than German/French (if Hulkenberg keeps being outstanding).

          2. @silence Ferrari has done it in the past LdM said one of the reasons they decided to let go of Kimi over Mass was that Massa was latin american. And although I rate HUL quite highly since his rookie season I don’t see him as the lead driver in red. I think Ferrari really wants Vettel to take over this role and then the 2nd seat will be given away considering additional factors and not just merit alone. Though as I said it’s just conjecture and HUL might end up at Ferrari – last year I thought Kimi would never go back to Ferrari and ALO would never (even remotely) be considered to return to McLaren.

          3. @tmf42

            Ferrari has done it in the past LdM said one of the reasons they decided to let go of Kimi over Mass was that Massa was latin american.

            That’s different though. He was banking on the presenced Ferrari has in Brazil (heritage of Barichello) and on the potential to appeal a whole culture. Bianchi doesn’t bring any of that. Besides, it was on a time that Massa was outperforming Raikkonen.

            I’m not saying Ferrari doesn’t make political decisions, but I question that Bianchi’s (current) form + political influence would be enough to outmatch Hulkenberg if he keeps his current form (as good as any of the champions, if not better).

  3. Force India are yet to confirm which of this year’s drivers, Paul di Resta or Adrian Sutil, will be replaced by Hulkenberg.

    I just hope that the other one gets replaced by Perez.

    1. Same here :-)

    2. Hulk-Perez and Hulk-Diresta are both very good lineups, Hulk-Sutil… I can’t see that working.

    3. Nooooooooooooooooooooo…

      I want it to be Sutil, who isn’t that good.

      1. To get replaced, that is

    4. @toiago I think they will go with James Colado

      1. i mean +2 to hulk n checko

    5. Amen dude! +2

      It will be quite an exciting pairing giving FI the breath of fresh air it needs. Diresta has done his bit but has fallen short of the mark really in grabbing the team by the scruff of the neck. His lackluster time in F1 has not been totally his fault but he just seems to miss that extra flare on top of his solid driving skill base. The guys not crap, I’ve always supported the lad but I just think he’s getting a tad stale.

      Sutil is a solid bet but again doesn’t have that edge, plus he needs to realise he’s clogging up the market for all the young sprouts wanting to come through! Drivers like Frijnns and Carlos Saintz, they should be given a chance.

      Massive respect to FI for sticking to their ‘we all will always go for the best drivers available’ tag line, as long as they bag Perez ofc ;)

  4. Di Resta to Indy Car, or Sutil to DTM?

    1. Or both, if Perez is making his way to the team…

      1. Yes, the moment I posted I thought of that.

  5. I hope FI can give him a good car next year, he deserves a top drive more than Maldonado IMHO.
    Pastor’s attitude is awful, both on track and off the track. it would be nice if Romain can whipe the floor with him.

  6. That’s a great jacket on Vijay.

  7. “Multi-year-deal”?

    I hope for Hulk’s sake that that’s not going to happen. He deserves a top drive in 2015.

    Actually, he deserves a top drive now.

    1. Yeah a bit surprising, I hope it’s just one-year-deal with option for another year. Although who knows, Force India could be a top-team next year :-)

    2. @magnificent-geoffrey
      I’d happily see Hülkenberg in a top team as he is one of my favorite drivers, but does he really “deserve” a top seat over someone else?

      I mean, in my opinion the top teams are Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren, whose drivers next season are Vettel, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Räikkönen, Button and Magnussen. Sure, you could argue that Hülkenberg deserves a McLaren seat more than a rookie or that Button and Räikkönen should retire already.

      But as far as I know, none of these eight drivers has any sponsorship that has ensured their seat. These four teams just happened to believe that their picks are better than Hülkenberg would be. So what are we to judge them? Hülkenberg couldn’t get himself a seat over other drivers with no meaningful sponsorship, so I don’t think he “deserved” it anymore than they did. Perhaps he’ll have better luck next year.

      I excluded Lotus from the top teams on purpose. Their financial situation is alarming and they’ve lost many of their key personnel. I don’t think they’ll have a bright future. Joining “a top team” that turns out to be a midfield team or worse can be a career killing move – just ask Perez. I think it’s very likely that Hülkenberg will be happy within a couple of seasons that he didn’t get the Lotus seat.

      1. @hotbottoms It’s not like teams haven’t made stupid decisions before. Mclaren as recently as last year, takin Checo instead of the Hulk. I can only understand RBR’s preference for Riicciardo as he’s their junior driver because IMO it’s clear Hulk is better than him. Different case is Magnussen who is Mclaren junior also, but potentially could be even faster than the Hulk(we don’t know). But apart from those juniors, I wouldn’t take him before Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel or Kimi but that’s it. Yes, before Button or Rosberg as well because I believe he’s ultimately faster than they.

      2. You write: “But as far as I know, none of these eight drivers has any sponsorship that has ensured their seat.” Please realize that sponsors are very aware of where they are investing their money — if you had multi-millions to invest in sponsorship, would you choose a team with e.g. Alonso and Räikkönen as drivers, or one with two “unknowns”? Bottom line, the money goes directly to the “Alonso/ Räikkönen” team.

        Pay drivers, for whatever family, national, political reasons, bring their own|personal|sponsorship money because teams cannot leverage the drivers’ abilities or reputation.

    3. These “multi-year deals” are probably only good for as long as the team keep up the salary payments, which, given the track records of most of the midfield teams these days, isn’t certain.

    4. Firstly, I agree with your thought. Secondly, perhaps a top drive for NH might happen if Ricciardo performs terribly at Red Bull. I could see Red Bull giving Hulkenberg a chance in this type of scenario.

      Although Ricciardo seems likeable so I’m hoping he does well. But still the pressure is on – I can’t see Red Bull giving Ricciardo two seasons if he doesn’t at least help with consistent points for the constructor’s.

  8. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s better than the Lotus next year, with the Merc engine and their seemingly decent low drag aero setups of recent years. (Hopefully) not a bad move!

    1. @m77, yes, they may well lose out on ultimate grip but make up for it by having better economy/straightline speed, they haven’t been able to capitalise on their top-speed advantage this year but with next years fuel limit ??????

  9. So far the biggest joking seat is still in the Lotus.

    1. Sauber is still on course for that prize if they will keep Gutierrez and sign Sutil

      1. Sirotkin seems to have disappeared without trace, doesn’t he? Sauber didn’t seem to put any effort into getting him a Superlicense or giving him a practice session.

        1. No money – no drive !

        2. @sharoncom
          It seems that Sirotkin tested an F60 in Fiorano and the results were not so encouraging which pushed Sauber to a plan change, hiring Sutil instead of him and keeping him in the role of reserve driver

          1. @tifoso1989 do you have a source for this? not doubting you but would like to read more.

  10. Personally would love to see Di Resta retained. Seems absurd that he is being made to wait but such is the state of F1 at present. Sauber are only going to be interested in drivers that will bring funds with them and I’m sure that they are busy trying to get Perez back at present hence the delay. Sad state of affairs.

    1. Di Resta never missed a chance to blame the team. He started on the back of the grid, team’s fault. He has a poor start? Team’s fault. He crashes out? Team’s fault. Team makes an almost perfect call in Belgium GP Quali? He brags what a ballsy move HE made, and how it was HIS decision to go out on inters.
      I wonder how he acts within the team, but if its just half as arrogant as he seems, I would dump him in favor for Hulk and/or Perez, too.

      1. Sutil wasn’t exactly saying much different about the team this week. The only difference is that he kept his powder dry at the time. Both are correct in there criticisms however I agree Di Resta should have kept it behind closed doors. There was a time there before the midway point that SFI where letting good opportunities slip through there fingers and their points haul should really have been around twice what it was in the end.

        Consider it this way though, Hulkenburg had a poor first half of the season due to a dog of a car. Di Resta had a good first half of the season due to a car working well. Unexpected tyre manufacturing and regulation changes turned the SFI into a dog and they did no further development on the 2013 car, unlike the Sauber who managed to turn there car performance around well. Them is the brakes as they say, but ability should not be judged like this.

        1. Hulkenberg didn’t throw his car into walls and moan after qualifying when the Sauber was difficult to drive at the start of the season. He was knuckling down scoring what few points he could. That’s what Sutil and di Resta should have done.

          1. Di Resta did get 2/3 of SFI’s points however.

        2. Hahahaha imagine Sutil, “The car was a carrot!”

  11. Should never have left Force India in the first place. Happy he’s got a seat though and I hope that first podium comes soon.

    1. Yes, at least he didn’t burn his bridges, I thought Sauber was worth a try because their 2012 car looked like a winner.

      I hope Force India can give him a car, and race strategies, to get stuck into the leaders. It would be great to see him beating the Lotuses and Raikkonen – and that’s possible if Kimi doesn’t get his mojo back.

  12. Hulkenberg and Perez for FI in 2014. MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

  13. Its a relief that Nico Hulkenberg stays in F1, although I would have loved to see him driving a Lotus next year. Drat that Pastor Maldonado!

    1. Also Im glad that Force India still chooses talent over money, despite not being in pink of monetary health.

      1. now if only Force India will choose to pay its driver Hulkenberg???

  14. I just wonder where did all these Sutil to Sauber rumours come from? I mean, when did he ever have connections to Sauber to begin with ._. To put it bluntly, to me he seems like a minion of Force India, and unless they can improve he will forever be doomed to mediocrity.

    1. @woshidavid95 they come from no where. Just like the rumours back in 2007 that claimed Sutil was on his way to MCLAREN !

      McLaren ! what had he done at that point to even get a sniff of a McLaren seat? as you say, he’ll be forever doomed to mediocrity.

      1. @fer-no65

        Gonna digress a little here but he was rather impressive in the Spyker, handily thrashing his teammates (Then again they were people like Albers and Yamamoto) but more importantly, he was capable of challenging the Toyotas and Hondas on occasion (Spa 2007 comes to mind) despite being in obviously the worst car on the grid, a bit like Alonso in the Minardi back in 2001.

        1. @woshidavid95 yeah, but then in 2008 and 2009, he was consistently outperformed by a very old Fisichella… having Albers and Yamamoto as a team mate doesn’t show anything special, really…

          1. @fer-no65
            That would be an overstatement, Fisi was better but only marginally so, much like Hamilton to Rosberg this year; in fact he was running 4th in 2008 Monaco until Raikkonen smashed him out, that’s like a Marussia/Caterham placing in 5th-6th today. He did improve a lot in 2010-2011, being a aolid points-scorer in the midfield SFI and dragging the car that’s average at best to the points at every other race. While PDR did get 19 more points this season, do remember that Sutil suffered from tons of bad luck in 3 of the first 5 races (Sepang as well but both SFI drivers had the same problem) when the SFI was most competitive, particularly Bahrain. PDR crashed out for 3 races in a row but it isn’t reflected in the standings as that was during SFI’s slump; Sutil was a lot more reliable there and ‘only’ crashed once with Webber.

          2. @woshidavid95 he wasn’t, he was running 4th after overtaking others under yellows and would’ve finished outside the points anyway. And it’s not like a Marussia/Caterham finishing that up, Force India were far closer to the top, just 2 seconds shy of pole.

            Also, considering Sutil’s experience, Paul di Resta generally showed him the way in 2011. A guy that had been racing touring cars…

            I hate Paul di Resta, but he held the upper hand against a guy that been racing in the series and in that same team far too long.

          3. @fer-no65

            True, but I believe he ‘only’ overtook 2-3 cars and that would still mean he was in 6th-7th which is still remarkable for a backmarker. And I don’t think you should use absolute figures, you should use percentages as Monaco is a far shorter circuit. The gap between Force India and Ferrari/McLaren in 2008 should have been about 3%, much like the gap between Caterham/Marussia to Red Bull.

            Yes, he didn’t beat PDR as comfortably as expected but he still did earn 42 points to PDR’s 27. While you could argue that the tables have been turned in 2013 when they were reunited as teammates, remember Sutil’s utter misfortune in 3 of the first 5 races when the SFI was most competitive, especially in Bahrain when he would have probably been in contention for the podium were it not for a puncture. Sutil’s probably never going to be a WDC contender. but he is a solid option for any midfield team looking for a reliable driver to bring the car home in the points.

    2. Adrian’s girlfriend chatting with Monisha Caltenborn in the Interlagos paddock after the GP

      1. Meanwhile at a team meeting ” Ok those are the facts can anyone see a good reason to to chose one of these drivers over the other three”
        have you seen Sutils girlfriend”
        “Good point, ok Sutil it is”

        1. @hohum it was in response to this “I just wonder where did all these Sutil to Sauber rumours come from?”

    3. I remember Ted’s post-race notebook where he’s seen Sutil’s girlfriend and other Sutil people chatting with Monisha Kaltenborn and some other Sauber guy. It clearly wasn’t a random occurrence, as the meeting space was located in the sitting area outside Sauber motorhome. Clearly they were invited.

      1. I saw that too, but rumours were from before that.

  15. Hope both he and Force India can replicate what they did in the later part of 2012.

    And now, Vijay, sign Perez and you have a proper line-up !

    1. @fer-no65 Bittersweet news to me .All I can say to the mighty hulk is : May the force be with you .

  16. Certainly wouldn’t mind VDG alongside Hulkenberg to see how he’d do.

    Don’t really care about Perez. It’s a shame Hulkenberg still won’t drive for a top team, but who knows how Force India will perform next year.

  17. Well it’s a hell of a lot better than Hulkenberg missing out on getting a seat entirely. Sad that someone so talented was in danger of being pushed out of F1 entirely because he doesn’t bring tens of millions in backing. I’m sure he’ll do well in Force India, but surely it’s only a matter of time before the well funded teams take him on. An entire career spent bouncing around the midfield would be a shame.

    1. Cream rises to they top so they say, but none of the ‘top teams’ have shown an interest. There must be an underlying reason and we might never know why Hulkenburg will always be confined to the mid or rear of the field. Let’s be honest, if he was a serious prospect he would have already been signed as there are at least 8 seats not decided by money.

      1. Well its wrong to say that none of the “top teams” showed an interest.Hulk was shortlisted for ferrari drive which was later confirmed by Ferrari,but they signed Kimi.Lotus was pretty keen to take Hulk ,even Boullier made it public that they want Hulk on board but the Quantum deal didn’t fell through so they left with no other option but to take Pastor and his millions.Hulk was real close to get a drive in top team this year but it just didn’t work out for him.

      2. @baron I think unfortunately it’s been all about timing for Hulkenberg, and the time has apparently never been right for him to get an opportunity with any of the big teams. He was close to both the Ferrari and Lotus seats this year, but it didn’t come together for him. The worry is that he’s missed his opportunity and the next time a window opens for him to move up he’ll be passed over for the next young hotshot. F1 can be a fickle business! Ask Sergio Perez…

  18. Maybe Mallya might pay him next year, although I hear part of the deal was an upfront fee for HUL

  19. Hope to see Hulk and Vijay take trophies for winning druver nd constructor atleast once in 2014. Get Perez and certainly have the best teammate battle after ALO and RAI

    1. @bharat141 What about Hammy & Rosberg??

      1. Ah.. I forgot that.. My bad. But I think hulk and Perez will have much serious rivalry than two established stars as they both have a point to prove. Hulk is denied top seat yet again and Perez was booted without his mistake from McLaren.

  20. How funny would it be if Force India had a better car than Lotus next season?

    1. It’s not entirely unrealistic. Lotus losing James Allison will surely hurt. Not reaching a deal with Quantum Motorsports (which, looking back on it, was 99% smoke and mirrors) might hurt them as far as having funding & resources to develop a competitive car and keep it competitive throughout 2014.

    2. @craig-o I am hoping for exactly that ! Or this would be even funnier , imagine Force India has a decent car and Hulk beats maldonado in most races even though Grosjean is ahead .

  21. I posted this on another forum but it bears repeating: This is huge for Force India.

    Hulk’s best season was by far his 2012 campaign, and that season was arguably the best season a Force India driver has ever had (with all due respect to Fisichella in ’09, he scored points once all year). And he’ll be driving with a chip on his shoulder, surely, after being turned down by four of the top five teams in the WCC. Force India might end up having the best powertrains in F1 with Mercedes-Benz. And they’ve always been a pretty consistent team, year-to-year, since 2010. Even after taking a “retread” driver in Sutil when they could have had Jules Bianchi, even after slumping poorly after the break with the tyre compound changes, they stockpiled enough solid results to finish ahead of Sauber and Williams. Oh, and let’s not forget that this time a year ago, they were all but going out of business – now they’ve just signed one of the best young drivers on the grid, and they could pair him with Sergio Perez, giving the team TWO of the best young drivers in F1.

    They have a very realistic chance of overtaking Lotus or McLaren for a top-5 berth next year, if they can produce a car that was as good as the VJM06 was in the early portion of 2013.

  22. Finally …… !!!!!! m really happy as I was waiting fr this ……… now all we need more is Perez. A bit more competitive car & this line-up might spring in some unbelievable feats ……. my imagination is already runnin wild

  23. this is too gud …. those imaginations & feats might actually not be that unattainable …….. Hulk n checko; n we r gud to go ….. !!! too gud !!! …… !!! best ever !!!

  24. This seems like an old picture, back in the 2012 days

    1. Looks like the image was taken at 14:06, on the 3rd of December, 2013, on a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV.

  25. Very glad for Hulkenberg to have a seat and one with decent potential at that. FI could have some success with the Mercedes engine package if early rumors are to be believed. Anyways, I sure hope that FI can deliver a good car, we know Hulkenberg will do his part.

  26. I think this team deserves more credit than what it gets, again thumping meritocracy over pay-drivers. FI has been quite an efficient team in managing and taking best out of their modest resources. Looking results from last 4 years, they have been quite consistent with their results with 3-1 over Williams (which could have been 4-0), 3-1 over Sauber, 4-0 over Toro Rosso.
    Hopefully with rumoured better engine and a decent car Hulk can shine with some few podiums here and there, and show to the big teams what they are missing by not taking his services.

  27. 3 drivers in different colors to support next year:
    Vettel in Red Bull (I don’t thnk Ricciardo will deliver well, just another Webber with no victories and going backwards)
    Kimi in Ferrari (well it’s more support for Kimi only, not for that team)
    Hulkenberg in Force India (the same as Kimi’s case, as I would never support Paul or Adrian, but Perez would make them my favorite pair to support next year!)

  28. its good news that he’ll be in formula 1…but yet ANOTHER team swap, every year he switches teams, this just cannot be good for him, i’d rather have seen him stay at sauber..i just hope that means di resta is out

  29. While it was a shame he missed on the Ferrari and Lotus seats, this may be a great chance for him. If FI keeps their level next year, it should give Hulkenberg a couple of reasons to shine, and 2015 should give him a clear shot at a top team.

    1. I guess the question becomes where in the top four will he be able to join?
      Mercedes – Hamilton & Rosberg are a strong pairing, and both are relatively young so I can’t see Mercedes changing this line-up, Rosberg or Hamilton would have to want to leave for a seat to open up.
      Ferrari – Best case scenario here is that Alonso and Raikkonen work well together (or as well as can be hoped) and both stay on in 2015 as stated in their contracts, so no change there.
      McLaren – Button’s team leader, unlikely to want to relinquish his seat and Magnussen will be in his second season. After droping Perez for him I think they’ll want to stand by their decision for at least two seasons.
      Red Bull – Vettel won’t leave unless the car’s woeful or a spot opens up at a team that can guarantee success. Even if Ricciardo is dropped for 2015 they’ll probably want to bring another driver in from their young driver programme.

      Unless Alonso moves to another team for 2015, I don’t see how Hulkenberg can break into the big teams. It looks like the top teams are set for a long period of stability judging from their driver line-ups. I really hope Hulkenberg can show his talent in a top car in the near future, but to me it looks doubtful.

      1. @colossal-squid Everything you posted is accurate, but I have to say that I don’t see both Raikkonen and Alonso in Ferrari in 2015.

        Of course, it’s just *feeling*, baseless and mostly wishful-thinking-based talk at this point, but I feel that either the Alonso-Ferrari relationship will implode (as it gave some signs this year) and he will end up in McLaren, or Raikkonen won’t do an amazing a job (he’s slowly getting over his prime).

        As you so well said, Mercedes and Red Bull are closed for him (since we’re on it, I don’t think Ricciardo will last more than 2 seasons). McLaren is a bit random on their driver choices, so who knows.

        1. @silence I’m a Ferrari fan, and I share your feeling. For all I like about Alonso as a driver, I’ve been waiting for his relationship with Ferrari to go up in flames since Abu Dhabi 2010. It almost seems inevitable considering how both parties operate!

          So I guess that it’s Alonso’s behaviour that holds the key to Hulkenberg’s 2015 prospects? I think you’re right that Kimi is entering the end-stage of his career, but at 34 I can see him continuing at a high level for a few more years provided his back doesn’t give in and he remains interested.

          McLaren desparately need a bit of stability post-Hamilton. It’d be almost farcical if they switch drivers three years in a row.

    2. I could see one of Ferrari’s drivers leaving which would open that seat up (Bianchi wouldn’t quite be ready). Either Alonso becomes disillusioned and moves to McLaren, or Raikkonen underperforms so they end his contract early. Mind Alonso probably wouldn’t want Hulkenberg as his team-mate.

      McLaren is the other possibility. If Button has a poor season they might drop him, and with Honda perhaps wanting a big name, Hulkenberg would fit that bill if they don’t get Alonso. Magnussen will get at least 2 seasons to prove his worth considering he was part of McLaren’s young driver programme, so I don’t see any danger of him being dropped.

      It’s all guess work of course!

      1. Button is out of contract anyway in 2015. I question you calling Hulkenburg a ‘big name.’ He has yet to win a GP and the others you mention in the same breath are all World Champions. He has to get his first win and then things might change.

        1. @baron Winning a single race is not *that* important when you fail to deliver consistently, as Maldonado showed (he’s widely considered little more than a paid driver now).

          At the moment, after the “big four”, there are two big names in F1, Grosjean and Hulkenberg, because of the excellent performance and wide praise they’ve got this season.

          1. @silence big 5 man, big 5. Button didn’t get his WDC as a present, and he has been an acceptable match to Hamilton (beat him one year and score more points overall) and the only reason his season was so poor was the car, which was as good as a Sauber at its best moments,

        2. @omarr-pepper Eeeeeh. I rate Button highly, but not as high as them. I want to see him in a capable car again to see what he can do, since this season showed little, but last season he was kinda mediocre.

  30. The funny bit about this is that just last week, Mallya was saying how he will decide on the lineup only after the annual Christmas party. Kinda lame to give out a statement like that and then confirming 1 of the drivers within a week.
    It kind of goes show how little truth there is in most statements made by F1 personnel!

    1. @rojov123 Making a deal out of nothing, aren’t we?

      1. @silence
        Quite the opposite. My point was that us fans should not make a huge deal about what is said in F1. Most of them are lies anyway.

  31. The funny bit about this is that just last week, Mallya was saying how he will decide on the lineup only after the annual Christmas party. Kinda lame to give out a statement like that and then confirming 1 of the drivers within a week.
    It kind of goes show how little truth there is in most statements made by F1 personnel!

  32. It’s good news that he’s staying in F1, and his return to Force India is better than him getting the Lotus drive. Mind I would’ve liked to see him remain at Sauber. If FI sign Perez as well (it seems logical given his talent and backing), that is one hell of a line-up and miles better than this year’s. They both flourished in Saubers and both have a point to prove!

  33. Next year Ferrari, please.

  34. I’d say they’re either going with Hulk/Perez, Hulk/Sutil or Hulk/Calado. I don’t see them continuing with DiResta, and Sutil has been pretty positive about next year.
    Perez is quick and has backing, and Calado is their new Bianchi.

  35. Now Perez . quickly . That would complete it . FI will have the best lineup in midfield .

  36. I’ll only be happy once I see they are a strong team next year… I much prefer Sauber as a team, but would never want Nico to spend so many years in average cars. I hope he can fight for wins next year and that Sauber won’t be on the podiums again just to play him a cruel joke.

  37. Will Perez get Telmex backing? If yes, then please don’t give Gutierrez any.
    Chilton drove better than him this year.

    1. @udm7 How is that?

    2. @udm7 even I would finish 19 out of 19… just driving at 100kph and getting lapped over and over again… Chilton showed so-called consistency that really means being sooooooooooo slow.

    3. No, he did not. Both should not be mentioned in relation to F1 driver standards.

    4. What has Chilton done better than GUT? Atleast GUT has a few decent weekends whereas CHI has done nothing to be remembered. I feel VDG is a much better driver than CHI as he has atleast taken risks and got that Caterham to Q2 twice this season.

      Both GUT and CHI should be out of F1 ASAP

    5. -Gutierrez crashed with Sutil, breaking the SFI’s Rear wing and Jennifers’ smile.
      -HE only got 6 points against the Hulk’s 51. Many other drivers would have done a better job.
      The Sauber, overall was a good car. Better than McLaren in the top 5. All I’m saying is that drivers like VDG, Pic and escpecially Bianchi deserved the seat more and could have done a better job than him.
      Marussia was the slowest and Chilton only made a joke of himself.
      In other words, if I had to rank the drivers, Chilton would be second last for out-qualifying Bianchi once and out racing him twice (I know Hulk is much better than Bianchi). Neither of them deserve seats in F1, but Gutierrez didn’t impress me even once and he had a good car.

  38. I believe that’s the end of his career and no wonder. The most overhyped driver on the grid, very flattered by his weak rookie teammate.

      1. All the top teams have had chances to sign him, and they have all passed on him. They are obviously not as impressed with him as the Internet. I think the fact that all top teams chose someone else over him speaks for itself. McLaren even preferred a rookie over him. Ferrari preferred a 34-year-old Kimi. Red Bull never even considered him. Even Zauber didn’t want him to stay, and they’re the ones who know how good Hulk really is(or is not). Something to think about. If Hulk couldn’t secure a top seat when there were 4 top seats available, what makes people think he would be able to secure one in the future? There would be new hot overhyped drivers next year and Hulk isn’t getting any younger. He’s 26 year old. The same age as 4 times world champion.

        1. @lunara Your gross oversimplification of the situation is unreasonable, to say the least.

          McLaren even preferred a rookie over him.

          A rookie part of their internal Young Driver Development Program, which McLaren takes very seriously. Besides, the reason for them not considering Hulkenberg was because of his weight, as they openly admitted. It speaks way more about the current state of F1’s rules than about Hulk’s skills.

          Ferrari preferred a 34-year-old Kimi.

          Is that supposed to be a bad sign? One of the 4 best drivers on the grid, which, among other things, is the last Ferrari champion. The fact that Hulk was the second option of F1’s most famous team says a lot of good things about how teams see Hulk.

          Red Bull never even considered him.

          Because they have a second team, which they spend a ridiculous amount of money at, just to promote drivers to their main team.

          Even Zauber didn’t want him to stay

          He’s 26 year old. The same age as 4 times world champion

          1. @silence I’m afraid you’re the one oversimplifying everything. Yes, every team had their reasons not to choose him, but ultimately, they didn’t choose him. All of them.
            As for Ferrari–yes, the fact that they chose a 34-year old Kimi over him shows that they don’t think he’s that necessary for them. It shows that for Ferrari Hulk was something easily disregarded when the better option presented itself. And there always might be a better option. Let’s say one of Kimi or Alonso leave Ferrari, but where’s the guarantee that Ferrari would choose Hulk? Vettel might decided to take on a new challenge, and again, Ferrari would disregard Hulk for someone better. There’s a precedent already, after all.
            As for Red Bull, you’re very oversimplifying it. Red Bull were considering and negotiating with Kimi; choosing from the junior team was the preferable option, of course, but not necessary. If they really thought Hulk was something special, they would have gone for him. They aren’t idiots.
            As for Sauber,
            As for drivers stats you linked, what is that supposed to tell? Yes, years ago, world champions were much older, but the grid is getting younger with every year, as you probably noticed.
            As for McLaren, they didn’t have to bring Kevin in right now. He could wait a year or two until Button retired. Unlike Red Bull with RIC, no one expected McLaren to bring Kevin straight into the top team. So they voluntarily disregarded Hulk. What makes one think that they will choose him next year? Nothing. He would be just one year older next year, and some of the new rookies might become the new media darling. Last year it was Perez, this year it was Hulk, next year it will be Kvyat or Nasr or someone else. If Hulk can’t secure a top seat within a year or two, I’m sure he’ll be out of F1 before he’s thirty.
            Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from being a Hulk hater, but the amount of hype that guy gets doesn’t correspond with the teams’s lukewarm interest towards him. And the teams would know better. In my opinion, Hulk is a very solid driver, of Mark Webber and Button sort, but ultimately, easily replaceable. And there’s nothing wrong with it. Not everyone is destined to be a Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso.

    1. Hello Paul, welcome aboard.
      Any news on seat in Indycar yet?

  39. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Force India if they indeed do have Perez + Hulk. I wonder what they can achieve, solid line up I say

  40. I really hope the Mercedes engine is good because all my favorite drivers have it now.

  41. Not sure how I feel. I’m sure I’ll be happy with this move once Hulk finishes in front of a Sauber, come 2014, though.

  42. @rojov123 good point, I guess since hulk was available vijay snapped at the chance lol is this the second time he’s signed for the team? and more importantly: will he get paid..

    1. i dnt wat this is doing here but its supposed to be a reply to @hohum comment on team meeting at SFI

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