It has been announced this afternoon that Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg has committed himself to the team by signing a two-year contract extension that sees him driving for the team until the end of the 2017 season.
Over the past few weeks, Hulkenberg has been linked to new F1 team Haas and was believed to be understood that he was at the top of their drivers list (with another nine also included) ahead of the American firm’s entry into F1 in 2016.
But Hulkenberg in his second spell with Force India; has opted to remain with the Force India team through to the end of 2017. According to Force India, Le Mans 24 Hours winner Hulkenberg staying on provides the team with “valuable stability in the years ahead”.
In his interview with the media this afternoon, Hulkenberg is happy to announce his contract extension with the team and believes that the progress the team has made since he rejoined in 2014 has given him confidence in the future. Hulkenberg stated the following:-
‘I’m very pleased to finalise and announce my plans for the future. I know this team inside out and I feel at home here so it made perfect sense to make a long-term commitment.
‘The progress the team has shown over the last two years has really impressed me and gives me confidence for the future. It’s a great group of people who are hungry for success and want to keep improving year-on-year.
‘I think we have the important things in place going forward and I want to continue growing with this team as we move even further up the grid.’
It is clear for all to see that Hulkenberg is happy to remain with the Force India team until the end of the 2017 season and is happy with the progress they have made since he rejoined and also believes that this is the best possible option for his future as well. You could also say that Hulkenberg and the team have a great relationship today and both have the same aims and objectives individually and collectively and this will only help them move forward in the future as well.
In his own interview with the media, Force India Team principal Vijay Mallya feels the re-signing of Hulkenberg represents a major coup and wants to give him the best possible chance of success in the near future. Mallya stated the following:-
‘I make no secret of being one of Nico’s biggest fans and so it’s fantastic to confirm him as our driver for the next couple of seasons. He has spent almost four years with us already and in that time we’ve seen him develop into one of the best racing drivers in the world.
‘Nico has the speed, the technical knowledge and the maturity to help us achieve some great results in the years ahead. We will do everything we can to continue delivering a car to match his talent.’
As Mallya has stated in his interview today, he is more than delighted to keep the services of Hulkenberg for another two years and believes that he is the real deal. I agree with Mallya; with Hulkenberg’s knowledge and experience in the sport, this will only help the team get to the front of the grid as quickly as possible but it is important that they use this in order to give Nico the best possible chance of achieving the success that Hulkenberg truly deserves.
Interesting fact; out of his 86 starts in F1, Hulkenberg has made 48 of those with Force India; which shows that if anyone deserves loyality to be rewarded; it is without a shadow of a doubt Hulkenberg.
It is anticipated in the next few weeks that Force India will also announce that they will be retaining Sergio Perez. And if this is true, this will be an unchanged line-up for 2016. But anything can happen in F1 and it usually does, is Haas looking at Perez for their 2016 line up? Who knows?