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”

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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 !!!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!)

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. Next year Ferrari, please.

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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

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