As news broke on Tuesday afternoon confirming Nico Hulkenberg will indeed return to Force India for 2014, attention switched to who will partner him at the team next season.
The 26-year-old impressed on several occasions during the second half of 2013 with a best finish of fourth in Korea, however, as his lack of financial backing continues to hold him back, the young German missed out on a seat firstly at Ferrari and then at Lotus.
Hulkenberg will likely replace Adrian Sutil who was highly critical of the team in an interview over the weekend describing the 2013 car as a “carrot” and has been linked with the now vacant seat at the Sauber team.
That leaves Paul di Resta and ex-McLaren driver Sergio Perez, who appears to be in the lead in the race to partner Hulkenberg at the Silverstone based team next year.
The Mexican brings around €15m in backing from Telmex and also brings the experience of a year at one of the sport’s top teams even if 2013 was the worst for McLaren in three decades.
“I’m sure it won’t be long before we know.”
However, speaking at a court case against his former manager Anthony Hamilton, Di Resta, who has been linked to his cousin’s seat in IndyCar after Dario Franchitti announced his retirement from racing, admitted he is likely to miss out on a seat in F1 next year.
One part of the Force India philosophy that is somewhat different to other teams on the grid is the decision to choose drivers on talent rather than backing, though the need for greater resources in the more expensive V6 era may have a say in who will join Hulkenberg, the German did have a response to Lotus’s decision to choose the strongly backed Pastor Maldonado over himself.
“I think everyone will have their own opinion on it,” he said on Wednesday.
“It’s not the first time I’ve experienced something like this,” Hulkenberg is quoted by the Express newspaper.
“I’ve lost a seat once in Williams, but to be honest I try to get my energy on the important subjects and take my career in the right way.”
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