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Rediff.com  » Sports » Nico Hulkenberg to leave Force India and join Sauber

Nico Hulkenberg to leave Force India and join Sauber

Last updated on: October 31, 2012 16:36 IST

After weeks of speculation, it was confirmed on Wednesday that Nico Hulkenberg will leave Indian Formula One side Sahara Force India and join closest rival Sauber for the 2013 season.

The Swiss team announced that it has signed Hulkenberg for the next season.

The 25-year-old German made his Formula One debut in 2010 with the Williams F1 team and captured a pole position in his maiden year.

He joined Force India as a reserve and test driver in 2011 and was elevated to the racing seat this year in place of Adrian Sutil.

 Nico Hulkenberg"We've been observing Nico for some time now and his performances have been very persuasive. That was the case in GP2 and has continued into Formula One. An obvious highlight was how he scored pole at Interlagos in 2010 despite the most challenging external conditions.

"He clearly showed that he can seize the chance if it arises. But high spots like that are one thing, systematic teamwork is another, and on that score I have confidence in Nico too. I'm sure he will fit in very well with the Sauber F1 Team. We look forward to working together with him," Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said.

Hulkenberg sits 12th in the Drivers' championship with 49 points and three races to go. His career-best result came this season at the Belgian Grand Prix, where he finished fourth on the challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the Sauber F1 Team. It's a well-placed team and very competitive. The Sauber F1 Team is currently going through a very positive development and I'm certain that together we can achieve a lot. Until that time I will remain fully focused on my job with the Sahara Force India Team. I'd like to thank the management at Sahara Force India for giving me the chance to return to Formula One as a team driver," Hulkenberg said.

Sauber said it will announce its second driver for the 2013 season at a later date.

Meanwhile, Force India Team Principal Vijay Mallya appreciated the good work Hulkenberg did for the team.

"It has been a pleasure to have Nico with us for the last couple of years. At the end of 2010 we identified him as a star of the future and it has been rewarding to watch him develop his racing skills.

"Together with Paul he has done a brilliant job for us, helping the team score more points than ever before and giving 100 per cent commitment every weekend. We would like to thank him for all his hard work and wish him well for the future," Mallya said.