Hulkenberg returns to Force India for 2014

2014 F1 season

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.

2014 F1 season


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155 comments on Hulkenberg returns to Force India for 2014

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  1. Juan Pablo Heidfeld (@juan-pablo-heidfeld-1) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:09

    Why did we ever doubt Eddie?

    • 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’

      • Strontium (@strontium) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:28

        +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.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:35

        @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

        • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:07

          @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

          • 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

          • Strontium (@strontium) said on 3rd December 2013, 19:42

            I seem to remember him beating Di Resta in 2011

            Yes when di Resta was a new rookie.

            He has been outclassed this year.

          • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 3rd December 2013, 20:33

            @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? :);)

          • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 3rd December 2013, 20:49

            @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”

        • forceindy said on 3rd December 2013, 19:59

          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!

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:21

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

      • McKenzie (@mckenzie) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:43

        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.

        • forceindy said on 3rd December 2013, 19:53

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

        • 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.

      • BJ (@beejis60) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:18

        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?

      • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 3rd December 2013, 22:33

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

    • 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. V. Chris (@vasschu) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:09

    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.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:31

      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…

      • V. Chris (@vasschu) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:17

        @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.

    • Sumit (@sumit-chawla) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:38

      He Has a multi year deal with Force India

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:40

      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.

      • TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:22

        @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.

        • DominikWilde (@dominikwilde) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:49

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

          • TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:57

            @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.

          • DominikWilde (@dominikwilde) said on 3rd December 2013, 19:02

            @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

          • TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 19:06

            @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.

        • TMF (@tmf42) said on 3rd December 2013, 19:54

          @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.

          • TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 20:11

            @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).

          • TMF (@tmf42) said on 3rd December 2013, 20:42

            @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.

          • TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 20:52

            @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. toiago (@toiago) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:12

    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.

  4. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:12

    Di Resta to Indy Car, or Sutil to DTM?

  5. Jon (@jons) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:15

    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. hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:21

    That’s a great jacket on Vijay.

  7. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:21

    “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.

    • Diceman (@diceman) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:26

      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 :-)

    • Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:07

      @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.

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:25

        @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.

      • Paul A (@paul-a) said on 4th December 2013, 15:10

        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.

    • Sharon H (@sharoncom) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:41

      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.

    • Timanders said on 3rd December 2013, 20:32

      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. N7 (@m77) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:22

    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!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd December 2013, 21:02

      @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. iAltair (@ialtair) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:26

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

  10. Big B (@firebits) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:26

    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.

    • Andre (@lheela) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:37

      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.

      • Big B (@firebits) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:55

        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. http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/sutil-calls-orange-force-india-a-carrot/

        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.

  11. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:26

    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.

    • Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:38

      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. NickF12013 (@nickf12013) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:29

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

  13. Prarag Chopra (@prarag-chopra) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:35

    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!

  14. David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:36

    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.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:22

      @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.

      • David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:03

        @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.

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:29

          @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…

          • David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 3rd December 2013, 23:41

            @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.

          • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 4th December 2013, 2:22

            @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.

          • David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 4th December 2013, 2:36

            @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.

    • Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:37

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

    • marsianwalrus (@einariliyev) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:40

      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.

  15. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:36

    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 !

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