“Re­nault will fight at the front again”

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Rob Lad­brook Pho­tos: LAT

Nico Hulkenberg be­lieves that Re­nault will re­turn to the sharp end of the grid sooner rather than later after pen­ning a multi-year deal to join the French firm.

Force In­dia last week agreed to re­lease the 29-year-old Ger­man from his con­tract so he could join the En­stone team for next sea­son on­wards. The deal marks Hulkenberg’s first with a fac­tory F1 team.

“Re­nault has al­ways been a big player in mo­tor­sport and that brings up in­cred­i­ble mem­o­ries,” said Hulkenberg. “In his first stint with Re­nault [Benet­ton] Michael Schu­macher not only helped make Ger­many an F1 na­tion, but also sparked my en­thu­si­asm and fire for rac­ing. As part of the Re­nault fam­ily, I want to de­velop the car and write new suc­cess sto­ries.

“It has al­ways been my dream to work for a man­u­fac­turer team. F1’s new reg­u­la­tions will change the game and give our team a good op­por­tu­nity. In the years to come, Re­nault will play a chal­lenger role, which fits my ap­proach to rac­ing.

“For the re­main­ing races this year I will give my best for Force In­dia to reach fourth in the Con­struc­tors’ Cham­pi­onship.”

Re­nault Sport chair­man Jerome Stoll added: “This sea­son has been about putting the foun­da­tions in place for fu­ture suc­cess.

“For our next step we re­quired an ex­pe­ri­enced driver who is still hun­gry for podi­ums. Nico ful­fils this role per­fectly and is an ex­cel­lent com­ple­ment to what we want to achieve.”

Hulkenberg’s team-mate at Re­nault has yet to be an­nounced, but ei­ther Kevin Mag­nussen or Este­ban Ocon are the firm favourites for the seat, but it is un­der­stood that Wil­liams’ Valt­teri Bot­tas has also been in talks with Re­nault.

The in­ter­est in the sec­ond Re­nault berth ap­pears to have left Bri­ton Jolyon Palmer seek­ing al­ter­na­tive op­tions to stay on the grid next sea­son. One of those could be Wil­liams, should Bot­tas leave. The Grove team has also been linked with FIA F3 cham­pion Lance Stroll, who has been lined up to re­place Felipe Massa ac­cord­ing to sources.

Mag­nussen is tipped to get sec­ond Re­nault F1 berth Hulk will leave Force In­dia this year

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