Hülkenberg to stay at Force India
The midfield driver line-ups begin to take shape, although JEV’s Formula 1 future appears shaky
Nico Hülkenberg will continue to race for Force India in 2015 after again failing to secure a promotion to a leading team.
The conrmation came despite pressure from some quarters for Force India to take on Jean-Eric Vergne, with a nancial contribution from Red Bull. That move would have given them a net gain of several million a year, taking into account Hülkenberg’s reputed $4m salary.
Force India team principal Vijay Mallya said: “We rate Nico very highly and he has done a tremendous job this year by consistently picking up crucial championship points. We know him extremely well: he’s a true racer and he knows how to motivate the team. I am convinced he is one of the best talents on the grid.”
Hülkenberg is thought to have an arrangement with Ferrari, allowing them to sign him if they wish, but they snapped up Vettel as a replacement for the departing Alonso.
Force India are also expected to retain Sergio Pérez in 2015. Pérez, who moved to Force India after one season at McLaren, has bolstered his reputation by beating Hülkenberg in numerous races this season.
Elsewhere, Caterham refugee Marcus Ericsson has been signed up by Sauber for 2015, although it remains unclear who he will replace. Adrian Sutil, who has had a lacklustre season, brings only a reputed 5m with him, but claims to have a rm contract. Esteban Gutiérrez, who is evenly matched with Sutil, has more substantial backing from his native Mexico, plus the prospect of a race in his home country next season. Current Sauber reserve driver Giedo Van Der Garde has also been linked to a race seat.
Toro Rosso have yet to announce who will partner Max Verstappen. The likely contenders are Formula Renault 3.5 champion Carlos Sainz Jr and GP3 Series ace Alex Lynn. Vergne is not believed to be in with a chance.