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Featured Nico Hulkenberg Secures Renault Contract

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    nico hulkenberg renault deal.jpg
    Word in the Formula One paddock suggests that highly rated German Nico Hulkenberg has secured a deal to drive for the works Renault team in 2017 and 2018, ending his on and off Force India career and lighting up the driver transfer market.

    If the rumours are to be believed, Hulkenberg has secured himself a two year deal with the option to extend to a third season in 2019. At 29 years of age, Hulkenberg has yet to taste the champagne on a Grand Prix podium in his 111 race starts since making his Formula One bow at the beginning of the 2010 racing season.

    Hulkenberg will continue to drive for the Silverstone based Force India team until the end of the current season, with team boss Vijay Mallya confirming release of the driver from his existing contract at seasons end:

    "Everybody at Force India wishes Nico well as he embarks upon a different path in Formula 1," said Mallya.

    "Having spent five years with us, Nico has become a great friend and contributed a huge amount to the team's success. He's an outstanding driver, who has scored more points for this team than anybody else. While it's true we will miss Nico, we respect his decision to explore fresh opportunities and it would be wrong to stand in his way."

    It is expected that Hulkenberg will hold the lead driver role at a newly restructured Renault team, with Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer both in the frame for the second seat, along with Manor's Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein. Williams driver Valtteri Bottas is also considered an outside possibility for the sole remaining works drive on the grid, however it is expected Williams will shortly conclude a deal to keep the Finn for at least another couple of seasons.

    Renault Formula One team.jpg

    Whilst recent results suggest Renault may lag behind the Force India team in terms of current performance, many in the Grand Prix paddock expect a fresh increase of manufacturer backed funding will catapult the team up the grid in 2017/2018. A raft of new technical regulations are due to come into force from next year, with the Renault designers back at Grove already committing resources and finance early to the development project in the hope of stealing a march on its immediate rivals heading into the new season. It could well prove to be an astute move by Hulkenberg, giving the talented driver his best opportunity of securing race victories in the coming couple of years.

    The latest shuffle again opens up the driver market, with a much desired seat at a competitive Force India likely to grab the attention of several highly rated drivers looking to step up the ladder into a regular points and podium scoring car. Both Force India and Williams run the latest Mercedes power unit and may be of interest to Mercedes junior drivers Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, leaving Manor Racing with spaces to fill, and funds to raise, heading into the off season.

    F1 2017 driver market so far...

    Mercedes - Hamilton & Rosberg
    Ferrari - Vettel & Raikkonen
    Red Bull - Ricciardo & Verstappen
    Williams - TBC & TBC
    McLaren - Alonso & Vandoorne
    Force India - Perez & TBC
    Renault - Hulkenburg & TBC
    Toro Rosso - Sainz & TBC
    Sauber - Ericsson & TBC
    Haas - TBC & TBC
    Manor - TBC & TBC

    For the latest news and discussions, check your RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in the discussion today!

    Do you think 'The Hulk' has made a wise decision moving to Renault? Who will replace him at Force India? Let us know in the comments section below!
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
    • Like Like x 4
  2. kedy89


    Probably best decision if he ever wants to win a race. Don't think that FI will go any higher than 4th, while Renault certainly has the ressources to be able to fight for top positions. Can see a Mercedes junior getting the FI set, Wehrlein maybe?
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Smartly done Hulkenberg, smartly done
  4. His career has been going downhill more and more over the last couple of seasons, not being able to match his teammate who's beating him fair and square very often, I'm curious to know how good that Sauber really was when he finished 4th.
    But good choice, I can't see Force India winning something, they're no more than a great mid-table team!
  5. Great to see the Hulk move to Renault, they will surely build a winning car in a few years. They have done that before.
    Who will replace him at FI? A team with money problems... the return of .... Maldonado? :roflmao:
    • Haha Haha x 3
  6. fortyfivekev


    I rate him as a driver but I think if he had the chance he should have taken Webber's seat at Porsche. At least he can win some races there and maybe the title which I can't see him doing at Renault.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  7. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper

    Hmmmm, I think I have to agree with @fortyfivekev on this one. He would have been better going to WEC.

    Sorry for being a pessimist but Renault have tried the F1 works team a few times in recent history and it simply hasn't worked for them, maybe Nico knows about a future technical team change that we don't know about yet.

    I can't see Renault winning for at least 3-4 years unless they discover some magic tweak for the new regulations.

    I hope I'm wrong though as he's a great talent and a very quick driver.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Finally Renault does the right move.
    Nico Hulkenberg is a talented and experienced driver at the level if not better than Valtteri Bottas or Romain Grosjean.
    The only way Renault can have a chance in its development phase is to have an experienced driver capable of giving comparative and qualitative feedback.
  9. Renault is not and will never fight for victory in F1 championship and Hulkenberg knows it.
    The same goes for 70% of F1 teams.
  10. Renault hasn't been good since 2006. I doubt they'll do well in 2017.
  11. I guess some of you forgot that Renault won the WCC and WDC in 2005 and 2006. If Renault (the company) start pouring the resources into the F1 team the way Mercedes has, they have every reason to be competitive at the front of the grid.

    This was a good move, because, aside from Red Bull, the only teams that have a shot at winning anything are works teams, and no doubt Hulk knows this.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  12. Renault never managed to win in the turbo era despite creating the engine :p. I'm glad to see Nico shuffle somewhere else with the potential of growing.
  13. Just like when they won the 2005-2006 world championships
  14. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    P4 is the max Force India can ever achieve in the WCC, that's obvious and Nico know it as well. That's why he chose to go to a factory team, because that one has the biggest potential. The team is racing a chassis that basically is the 2015 Lotus and that's why they have been so bad this year, and that's why next year they will be much better.
  15. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper

    Yeah, I'm not debating that at all my friend but it's a very different team to what it was in that period. It still had a large amount of the technical team from the Benetton era. The last time they tried to come back as a works team it just didn't gel at all and I'm seeing the same signs again.

    I'm hoping I'm wrong though it would be great for them to come back fighting in 2017 but I still think it will be a 3-4 year plan before they start winning again.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. fortyfivekev


    F1 budgets have changed a lot since 2005/6 when Renault last won the title. Mercedes are supposedly spending EUR1,000,000,000 per year and no way Renault can afford that. If they could they would have hired someone like Alonso not the Hulk.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. I hope Renault build a good car for H├╝lkenberg. He was so unlucky last years but he is a really good driver and Le Mans winner!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. This is a savvy move, I think. Force India I think will always be the "little team that could", whereas Renault has a track record of becoming a monster when they put the money behind it.

    It also gets him away from Perez, who many people discount as "just a pay driver" yet he manages to beat out Hulkenberg most weekends.
  19. I hope it works out this time for this guy.
    He has been one of the most unlucky drivers where timing is concerned.
    Seems like every time he switches, his former team gets some kind of good fortune.
  20. We need PW94 in the Williams
    • Agree Agree x 1