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.

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155 comments on Hulkenberg returns to Force India for 2014

  1. Roald (@roald) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:40

    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.

  2. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:47

    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.

    • Baron (@baron) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:42

      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.

      • smokinjoe (@smokinjoe) said on 3rd December 2013, 20:55

        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.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 3rd December 2013, 22:44

        @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…

  3. tobinen (@tobinen) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:54

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

  4. bharat (@bharat141) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:57

    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

  5. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 3rd December 2013, 15:59

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

    • 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.

    • Akshay (@hamilfan) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:21

      @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 .

  6. 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.

  7. Piyush (@square-route) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:20

    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

  8. Piyush (@square-route) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:24

    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 !!!

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

  10. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:45

    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.

  11. vickyy (@vickyy) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:47

    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.

  12. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 3rd December 2013, 16:55

    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!)

  13. Ben (@scuderia29) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:23

    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

  14. TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:26

    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.

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:56

      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.

      • TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 19:41

        @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.

        • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 3rd December 2013, 22:39

          @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.

    • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:39

      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!

      • Baron (@baron) said on 3rd December 2013, 18:54

        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.

        • TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 19:47

          @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.

          • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 3rd December 2013, 21:57

            @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,

        • TheBass (@) said on 3rd December 2013, 23:03

          @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.

  15. Rooney (@rojov123) said on 3rd December 2013, 17:34

    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!

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