After months of speculation on where he may land, it was announced Tuesday that Nico Hulkenberg signed a two-year contract extension and will stay on at Sahara Force India for 2016 and 2017 Formula 1 seasons.
The German driver has made a home at the Silverstone-based squad, racing for them for much of his Formula 1 career. Originally a test driver for Force India, Hulkenberg raced with the team in 2012 before departing for Sauber for whom he raced one season for prior to returning.
Hulkenberg’s name was linked to Kimi Raikkonen’s seat at Ferrari, but following the Italian team’s commitment to bring back the Finn next season the German was linked to the up-and-coming Haas F1 Team. However, all speculation involving the 28-year-old is now set to rest – for another season at the very least anyway.
“I’m very pleased to finalize and announce my plans for the future,” said Hulkenberg. “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.”
Team boss Vijay Mallya has been a big supporter of Hulkenberg, who is quickly becoming Force India’s longest tenured driver in it’s relatively F1 history.
“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,” added Mallya. “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.”