IN THIS ISSUE
“Renault will fight at the front again”
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.