Just to give this story some backing: the original source of this story is the German newspaper Bild (yes, the exact same one that first broke Webber to Porsche, Lowe to Mercedes, Glock leaving Marussia and the list goes on):
Man, I can’t believe that this guy isn’t in a top seat yet.
It’s believed that Hulkenberg moved to Sauber to try and set up a future with Ferrari. Since Sauber have an engine supply deal with Ferrari, they’ve often worked very closely with Maranello. It’s believed that Ferrari are very interested in him as a potential replacement for Felipe Massa, and so he moved to Sauber to try and establish a relationship with the team. The problem that Hulkenberg is facing at the moment is that Sauber have gone backwards – and that there was a lack of front-running drives that were available when he decided to move. When Hamilton moved to Mercedes, McLaren pounced on Perez. And Ferrari and Red Bull haven’t had any driver line-up changes recently.
Somewhat unrelated, but I wonder if Red Bull will be using Alonso’s current woes to frame a speculative offer of a 2014 drive. Alonso said he wants to see out the rest of his career with the Scuderia, but considering how badly it’s going at the moment, it’s got to be something he’d think about…
Considering that Sauber had 4 podiums last year to Force India’s zero last year, the fact that Hülkenberg was pretty much the only reason Force India almost overhauled Sauber for 6th in the standings, and the fact that many of us were speculating if Force India would even make the grid in 2013 because of VM and Sahara Group’s financial issues, I don’t see how it was the wrong move at the time.
Yes, he’s struggling with a sluggish, post-James Key Sauber now, in mid-2013 – but in late 2012, this was a move up and not a move sideways/down.